Sgt. 1st Class Paul McGuire arrives at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, Iraq for a conference of Army historians during his deployment with the 35th Military History Detachment in May 2010. Courtesy Photo.
Name, Rank and Unit: Paul M. McGuire, Sgt. First Class, HHC, 95th Training Division, Fort Sill, Okla.
Military Occupation: Public Affairs NCO
Civilian Occupation: Public Affairs Specialist
When and why did you join the Army Reserve?
I joined the Army Reserve in 1997 shortly after I fulfilled my initial six-year active duty commitment. I originally planned to make a “clean break” from the Army and just go back to school, but a buddy of mine who’d transitioned to the Reserves a year or so earlier kept urging me to join him. As a full-time student supporting my family on the GI Bill, school loans, part-time jobs and government assistance, the prospect of an extra paycheck each month held pretty strong appeal. So I signed on the dotted line. It turned out to be a wise move. Before I knew it, I had 10 years of creditable service toward retirement, at which point it was no longer just a job, but a career.
Tell us more about your civilian job. What does a day of work look like for you?
I’m a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Moore, Okla. I’m primarily responsible for marketing and media relations in support of the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Adoption Program in a four-state region: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. I split my time fairly evenly between my office and the road. While in the office, I develop a variety of visual information products (signs, flyers, posters, banners, pamphlets, post cards, etc.), I draft and distribute press releases, and I maintain the agency’s presence on the web and in social media. I travel often to conduct television, radio and print interviews to promote upcoming adoption events and address other issues surrounding the program. Oddly enough, I get to spend very little time with actual wild horses and burros, but when I do it’s awesome!
In what ways do you use your Army Reserve training in your civilian career?
Sgt. 1st Class Paul McGuire enjoys an outing with his family, riding mules in the Grand Canyon, June 2008.
Without the training and experience I’ve gained throughout my Army career (both active and Reserve), I wouldn’t have the civilian career I do. The Army does a lot of things well, and one of the things it does best is public affairs. There’s no better proving ground. I can’t say I learned everything I know in the Army, but I can say it’s been the most formative influence in my professional life. Second only to marrying my wife, joining the Army is the best decision I ever made.
You mentioned your wife. What role do you think family has played in your Army career?
My family life and Army career are thoroughly intertwined. The Army provided the foundation for me to build my family. I joined the Army at 23, newly married. Shortly after my wife and I arrived at my first duty station, we had our first son. Two others soon followed. The financial stability afforded to me by the Army allowed my wife to stay at home and raise our three sons. Their support for me on the home front has been indispensable throughout my career. It’s not always been easy, for sure, but it’s always been worthwhile.
Have you had the opportunity to utilize your military career during a deployment or mobilization? If so, where and when?
I deployed to Iraq in 2010 as part of a Military History Detachment. The Army tries to place public affairs Soldiers in those assignments because the required skill sets are similar. You do a lot of oral interviews, document editing, staff coordination, etc. I’m pleased to have had an opportunity to serve my country overseas and to cap my career with a deployment, but I’m equally pleased that the U.S. is drawing down in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
When you’re not working your civilian job or serving your country, what do you like to do for fun? Any interesting hobbies?
I’m pretty much a home body. I always have some kind of home improvement project or repair job I’m doing. I enjoy working in the yard and cooking out on the grill. I play a little golf. We own just enough property (five acres) that I can practice with my nine iron in the front yard without losing too many balls over the fence. My boys and I like watching comedies on TV, and my wife and I like to garden, cook and watch movies.
Is there anything you haven’t told us that you feel is important for people to know about you?
Politically, I’m pretty conservative, with a wide libertarian streak. I think our Founding Fathers struck just the right balance when they wrote and ratified our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Few of the changes we’ve made to that document over the last 230-plus years have improved on its original design (with the exception of the 13th, 15th and 19th Amendments). Religiously, I’m a Christian in the Protestant-Baptist tradition. I value liberty above all else.