Spc. Luis Estrada: I'm Spc. Luis Estrada. I am a civil affairs specialist, United States Army Reserve. I joined the Army Reserve approximately about a year and a half ago. I served eight years with the Marine Corps, and I wanted a change. I wanted to see what it was, what the Army Reserve would be like for me, what it would offer me, and so far I've loved every part of it.
As a civilian job, I do plumbing. It's a field that I'm pretty new to. I've been lucky to have that opportunity, and I love my job. If we go to a province, and there's a province that needs a water well, or there's a province that needs a sewage line, I believe I would have some intel as far as what needs to be done, and that's where my civilian job really comes in handy.
Balancing my life as an Army Reservist and my civilian life, it's pretty easy. We have our battle drills planned out. I have my civilian life that's planned out, and it's a day-by-day. And when it comes time for me to come to the battle drill, I'm ready for it. Skills that I have learned in the Armed Forces and being a United States Army Reserve has helped me a lot in my civilian life. It's helped me a lot with my marriage. It's helped me a lot being a good father. I know I can succeed in whatever challenge gets put in front of my face.
Camaraderie goes a long way, and it's one thing that the Military always has. It's the brotherhood that's always going to be there. When you feel comfortable with the Soldiers that you trained with, with the fellow Soldiers you're going to risk your lives for when you're out there, when you understand that we're all there for each other. And it's that camaraderie; it makes everything stronger. It makes you feel like you've got that family wherever you are where you deploy. You have all these brothers with you, and all it does is make your whole team a lot stronger.
What I like the most about being a United States Army Reserve is that I still get to do all the training. I still get to go out in the field, still having the weekends here, still having the time with the family back at home with your friends. It's like living the dream pretty much to me. I do plan on doing my 25 years in the United States Army Reserve, and I do plan on leading my own Soldiers into combat one day. And once you join this brotherhood, once you join this family, once you join the United States Army, you're always going to want to be a part of it.