2nd Lt. Ingrid Alvarez: I am 2nd Lt. Ingrid Alvarez, a civil affairs officer of the United States Army Reserve.
What inspired me to join the Army Reserve was mainly the focus that I was looking for. I needed some personal growth, and I'm the only one in my family serving in the Military. So I guess that was another good motivator, being a pioneer in my family.
What I do for a civilian job, I work for a major computer manufacturer. I am the customer's last resource pretty much when it comes to issues with their computer. I have a lot of resources, and then I can use them in order to give them something better than they had. And they're usually very happy about, I mean, the customer's very happy about that.
As a civil affairs officer, what I've learned is that, we're there to fight the counterinsurgency. It's reshaping the environment to make it safer, and as a byproduct then, you know, the population benefits from that.
The way that my civilian job and my military job translate from one to another one, it's, it's because it has to do with the public and also taking care of the interests of the organization, pretty much. I take care of the customer however I have to, also watch for the interest of the corporation at the same time. With the Army, I deal with, you know, the public, the population, the locals and so forth, but also I have to keep in mind that there's always the mission first.
The Army Reserve overall has given me the confidence that I'm capable of just doing just about anything. I'm a completely different person than I was two-and-a-half years ago. You know, now I can look in the mirror and tell to myself, yeah, this is a woman that I've always wanted to be.
I'd rather live a short life at the service of others than a long life at the service of myself. And that's what the Army's all about. It's just not about you; it's about the team, the mission. For us, it's mission first. And that is something that you don't oftentimes see in the civilian world.
My favorite part of the Army Reserve, I would say is flexibility. The reason that I decided to go on the Reserve instead of Active Duty is because I wanted to live home and, you know, you get to stay with your friends and family, that kind of thing. You'll get the same quality training, the same opportunities, but it's a little more flexible.
I mean, that's definitely my favorite thing is to go to work, even if it's civilian, but I know that I can stand proud and say, yes, I am a Soldier, and I get to do things that the guy next door wouldn't be able to do.