ArmyEdSpace Spotlight

Tony Hamblin, Former National Officer, SkillsUSA

Tony Hamblin
Jacksboro, TN
Former National Officer, SkillsUSA
Computer Information Technology Instructor and Network Administrator, Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)

Q: How did you become involved with the Army?
I was introduced to the U.S. Army as a young child. Whenever I stayed with my grandparents, I would explore their house, as most children do. One day I came across an old brown uniform. I asked my grandfather about it, and he explained it was his Army uniform that he wore in the war. Ever since that day, I was intrigued by military history, which eventually led me to enlisting in the U.S. Army in September 1987. After proudly serving, I retired in October 2007.

Q: What were you surprised to learn about the Army through your involvement?
Being a Soldier, I was familiar with the many benefits the U.S. Army provides to Soldiers and families. It wasn’t until I retired that I learned of the many benefits that the Army provides to civilians. I was especially surprised to discover the number of scholarships the Army provides to students each year. It makes me proud of the organization I served for 20 years. Additionally, while I was on active duty, I was unaware of the countless service projects through which the Army immerses itself in local communities. This truly shows why it’s America’s Army.

Q: What has been your most interesting or memorable experience or interaction with the U.S. Army?
While I was a Soldier, I had more memorable experiences than I can even annotate. However, as a civilian and a SkillsUSA national officer, I had the most memorable one occur at our National Leadership and Skills Conference in 2012. As I was visiting the many booths, I came across the U.S. Army Recruiting Command area. Standing there telling “war stories” with a young staff sergeant, I observed a recruiter helping a child with a physical challenge get down on the floor to do pushups. As I approached the recruiter, my initial thought was, “Why is he making a child with a physical challenge do pushups for the swag?" I quickly realized that he had been talking with the child and she wanted to be like everyone else. This recruiter did whatever he had to do to make her feel that way. That’s my Army: whatever it takes, no matter what.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to support the Army as a leader in your community?
This is probably the easiest question for me to answer. Through strong partnerships between the U.S. Army and community leaders, we have a stronger chance of eliminating many of the issues that trouble our society. The Army has the potential and ability to change lives — either by young men and women enlisting, or through scholarships provided by the Army to further their education opportunities. It is very critical that the partnership between the U.S. Army and student organizations continue to grow and strengthen our nation. SkillsUSA and the U.S. Army share many of the same core values. Both organizations strive to provide and build a strong America. If others throughout our great nation would use the partnership between these two great organizations as a guide, the success of young men and women would greatly increase, and we would see a change in the composition of our country.

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