Retired 82nd Airborne Commander is example for all JBA Airmen
By Airman 1st Class Lindsey A. Beadle, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published August 04, 2011
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- A lifetime of Selfless Service - that's what Dr. Reginald Grier has. In addition to his extensive 30-year Army career, Grier is a man who has come away from the military with qualities which most Airmen on Joint Base Andrews only wish they could have achieved by the end of their enlistment.
In 1946, a temporary reoccupation of the Philippines was underway as World War II was coming to a close. In the wake of the devastating world war, a then-18-year-old Grier decided to enlist in the United States military and was sent to Italy as his first assignment.
"I enlisted in the Army in 1946," said Grier. "It was a nervous time in those days since the War wasn't entirely over but it was something I wanted to do."
After being enlisted for seven years, Grier transitioned to the Army's officer corps after graduating with an ROTC commission from The City College of New York. Grier's first assignment was with the 503rd Airborne Division and was sent to Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., soon after arriving on station.
"If you wanted to be anything in the Army, you had to get your wings," said Grier. "The training was difficult, especially the first (ground) week, but I knew I had to do it, so, I just did it."
Grier's inner qualities of self determination and ware-with-all continued to help him make strides in his Army career as he left jump school and went to Korea as an Army Signal Corps officer during the Korean War. Then from 1960 to 1963, Grier was stationed in Hawaii but more actively recalls his missions outside the state than within.
I was only in Hawaii for about six months during my assignment there, said Grier. I actually spent the majority of my time in Cambodia and had the opportunity to work with units from other countries.
From 1965 to 1966, Grier spent time in Vietnam with the 39th Signal Battalion and spent his service at that time providing long-range communication capabilities to all U.S. military units there.
"At one point in Vietnam I remember flying and the pilot telling me we were being shot at," said Grier. "All I said was, 'Oh good... avoid it!'"
After Vietnam, Grier returned home to become the commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division for five months and remembers his time there fondly.
"I wanted to be an officer because I had a few poor examples along the way and I knew I could do it better," said Grier. "And as a commander, I never asked anything of my troops that I couldn't do myself, I gained more respect that way."
After retiring from active duty in 1975, Grier went on to teach Information Systems at William Patterson University in New Jersey and to this day, has remained active in his local community. Grier is most notably recognized now for his position as the Maryland Senior Olympics commissioner.
"The Maryland Senior Olympics is open for anyone over the age of 50," said Grier. "There are a wide variety of events to compete in this year, and I myself will be competing in the javelin, shot-put and discuss throw."
Having eyes which have seen places most will never witness and feet which have marched across land most will never dare visit, Grier has within himself, the entire makings of a true American hero. Today, Dr. Reginald Grier is 83 years young, and this iconic military figure graces Joint Base Andrews with his presence on a weekly basis, most notably at the West Fitness Center here. If only more of Team Andrews knew of the awesome presence they were around when they happen upon Dr. Grier.
For more information on the Maryland Senior Olympics, or to most-likely see and speak with Dr. Grier yourself, visit the West Fitness Center here.