FORT POLK, La. –
Sgt. 1st Class Johnathan Reed was promoted by his father, retired Sgt. 1st Class Jack Reed, during a ceremony at Alligator Lake Recreation Site at the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk on Oct. 1.
First Sergeant Dustyn Rose, 115th Field Hospital, 32nd Hospital Center said the uniqueness of this promotion illustrates the dedication of Soldiers to the organization both past and present.
“At 103 years old there is a rich legacy and history in this unit,” he said. “Sgt. 1st Class Reed has been an extremely high performer since the day he arrived at the 115th. I don’t expect to see anything different with this promotion. He is an example for all of the NCOs in this organization. His competence and professionalism are exceptional and it’s a pleasure to serve with him. We have the same MOS and I look forward to seeing what he does as he continues to serve.”
Reed is a medical laboratory technician and has followed in his fathers’ footsteps in Army Medicine during his military career. On Oct. 1, 1994, 27 years to the date, Jack Reed, a licensed practical nurse, was also promoted to sergeant first class while assigned to the 115 FH.
“This promotion is bittersweet. I’d been working hard and striving for E-7 and to progress in my career. As I approached 19 years of active service, I didn’t think it was in the stars for me. I was mentally preparing for retirement and whatever God had in store for me,” he said. “Now I’m looking forward to serving another three years and am happy that my dad can be a part of it.”
Reed, a graduate of Simpson High School grew up as a military child just outside the gates of Fort Polk in Simpson, Louisiana. Joining the Army was not always his plan and, as most teenagers, he often rebelled against his father.
“As a kid, everything I said I didn’t want to do is exactly what I ended up doing,” he said. “Being in the Army, earning the Expert Field Medical Badge just like my father did, and now being promoted by him as a member of his former unit on the exact same day is phenomenal.”
Reed said following in his father’s footsteps and having similar experiences throughout his military career has been eye opening to him and helped him put his childhood into context.
“I hope one day my children understand and see things the way I now see them,” he said. “I’ve had so many opportunities throughout my career. Joining the Army was the best decision I made for me and my family.”
Growing up outside of Fort Polk motivated Reed to want to serve and be stationed at Fort Polk.
“My wife grew up in DeRidder, Louisiana,” he said. “Being here is a blessing because our extended family is here too.”
Jack Reed, retired since 1999, is a healthcare training instructor at Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital. Reed initially enlisted as combat medic but later became a licensed practical nurse. He was promoted to sergeant first class on Oct. 1, 1994 while assigned to the 115 FH.
“I am so proud of my son. It is simply amazing. This is an anomaly I don’t think happens every day everywhere. I think this is very unusual,” he said. “Not only were we both promoted with this unit, we also both deployed with the 115 Field Hospital.”
The elder Reed was assigned to the 115 FH for ten years from 1989 – 1999.
“I am proud of my son for joining the military and being part of the military community,” he said. “But at the time, as a father, I was worried. He didn’t tell us he was joining the Army and in my line of work I’ve seen the ugly side of war and I didn’t want my son to ever experience that.”
He feels lucky that his son has been stationed at Fort Polk several times.
“I’ve been able to participate in several milestones in Johnathan’s career,” he said. “In June of 2010, I pinned on his EFMB with the original badge that was pinned on me when I earned it.”
Kevin Stuart, ombudsman, for the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk is a retired command sergeant major and was the elder Reed’s first sergeant when he was promoted in 1994. He recalled Reed being a “go-getter” and remarked his excitement when he met the younger Reed earlier this year at BJACH.
“What a story to hear about a father and son serving in the same unit and both having medical backgrounds,” he said. “Jack Reed has certainly paved the way for his son to follow. Congratulations to both father and son!”
Stuart, said he was honored to be invited to this promotion and to witness something so unique.
“This is a great time for the 115th Field Hospital,” Stuart said. “This is a great day for Army Medicine. Congratulations Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Reed for carving out your own path as well. Continue the mission - Silver Knight!”
Editor’s Note: Angie Thorne, public affairs specialist, US Army Garrison, Fort Polk covered the story of Reed’s Expert Field Medical Badge in 2010. You can read that story here