Moments that define us

As people grow older and begin to reflect, they can often identify specific circumstances that have helped define them as a individuals and positively influenced them throughout their lives.

As local veteran Bryan Reid notes, the 11 years he served in the U.S. Army were full of such experiences.

A 1975 graduate of Lake Placid Central High School, the New York native had grown tired of his East Coast surroundings and opted to pursue an adventure.

“A friend and me were tired of our hometown and decided to drive cross-country after graduating (high school),” Reid recalled. “We ended up in Santa Barbara,” he laughed.

Working part-time jobs over the next several months, an acquaintance of Reid’s eventually convinced him to visit with a military recruiter.

On July 2, 1976, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. When asked why he chose the Army rather than one of the other branches, Reid said, “My grandfather and other relatives had been in the Army, so it seemed like the natural choice.”

The young recruit completed his bootcamp at Fort Dix, N.J. — which, as he mirthfully recalled, returned him to the same area from which he had recently sought an escape.

Several weeks later, he was at Fort Devens, Mass., attending advanced training to become a member of the Army Security Agency. During the six-month course, he learned Morse code and received instruction on intercepting and analyzing different types of communication.

In late 1976, he departed for his first duty assignment — a one-year tour stationed at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, where he employed his recent training by monitoring and intercepting classified communications.

The following year, he transferred to the Army Field Station at San Antonio, Texas, spending the next two years performing duties similar to those in Korea.

However, he enjoyed only a brief respite from overseas duty when, in 1980, he was moved to the Army Field Station in Okinawa to continue his communications work. While there, he became engaged to Mary, a fellow soldier, and the two were married in 1981.

“I completed my four years in Okinawa, and I was then sent back to Fort Devens to become an instructor for Morse code interception,” Reid said. “After doing that for awhile, I became a platoon sergeant for a training brigade on post,” he added.

Learning that he would soon face an overseas assignment during which his wife and young son would not be able to accompany him, Reid made the decision to forego re-enlistment and left the military in 1987.

The veteran relocated his family to Massachusetts, and went to work for a couple of smaller local police departments.

But as Reid notes, in 1990, the decision was made to move to Mid-Missouri since his wife was originally from the area.

For most of the next decade, Reid served in several capacities with the Jefferson City Police Department, and in 2000, was hired by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association as their training director.

During his time with the association, he made an unsuccessful run for sheriff of Cole County in 2008.

Continuing in the law enforcement path he began more than two decades ago, Reid became a patrol officer with the Holts Summit Police Department in 2010, and now serves as the assistant police chief.

When asked about the impact his early military exposure has had over the course of his career, the veteran notes, “Police departments have a structure and hierarchy that almost parallels the military — so the progression from the Army to law enforcement seemed rather instinctive.”

Clarifying the manner in which his military education has helped further his civilian career choice, Reid added, “In military intelligence you learn many details regarding how to research and gather information on a specific issue.

“These are the type of skills that are regularly needed when involved in the investigations one often encounters while working as a police officer.”

Jeremy Amick is the public affairs officer for the Silver Star Families of America.

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