James Carl Reimers – US Army, 2005-2011, Bradley Mechanic
Units: 126 Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Division
Stationed: Schweinfurt, Germany; Fort Riley, Kansas
Degree Seeking: Mechanical Engineer
Q: Why did you join the Army?
A: I always wanted to, in fact when my mom took me shopping for school clothes kindergarten year, I picked a camo back-pack (this was during Gulf War). Just recently while visiting my mom, she said she knew right then, I was going to serve our country, I just didn’t know which branch. When I was 17, before even graduating from high school, the summer after my junior year, I signed with the Army. My dad encouraged me to choose a military job that would afford me a skill when I retired from military life, being a mechanic really interested me.
Q: What was the best thing about serving in the Army?
A: The people I served with, are the most amazing, selfless individuals, and we were hit hard. My entire unit was full of top-notch, do anything for you soldiers. One man comes to mind, Ross McGinnis. McGinnis, looked up just as a grenade was thrown towards the Humvee. Rather than jump out of harms way, he attempted to swat the grenade away, but missed and it landed inside. Without hesitation or though, Ross yelled for everyone to get out, covered the grenade. That man died not only for me and my unit, but for anyone reading this and our entire nation. Ross McGinnis died earning the Medal of Honor. Serving and working next to men like that was the greatest privilege, I will ever have in my lifetime.
Q: Of all the things you’ve seen around the world, what one thing would you change?
A: I wish I had more time to spend with those who are no longer with us. I wish I could have told them how much they mean to me, to our country.
Q: What new, civilian career are you working on?
A: I’ve always been mechanically inclined, I just like to see how stuff works. As a kid, I’d take stuff apart just to try to find different ways to use parts, or create new things. In high school, I was in the Regional Occupational Program for automotive mechanic in high school, as well as ROP for welding, which led to my Army job as a Bradley Mechanic. Due to combat sustained injury, my back couldn’t take the work of a mechanic. Now, I’m working on my degree in Mechanical Engineering at Boise State University, and loving the program.
Q; What has Wyakin done for you?
A: The support provided by the staff of Wyakin has been the single greatest asset in my transition to civilian life. Without Wyakin, I wouldn’t have my current level of confidence in submitting resumes, writing cover letters, or leveraging networking opportunities because that is not how it worked in the Army. Without Wyakin, I would not have been prepared for the interview that led to my PAID internship with Trinity Trailer Manufacturing. I’m so grateful for the guidance I received along the way, and can’t wait to wear the cap and gown next spring.