Today CN Salutes Sergeant Major Rodney Kirschman. He served as ACTIVE DUTY-US ARMY-1968-1969 Vietnam 101st Airborne. Then he served in the US Army Reserves from 1974 to 1995 in the 159TH SPT Group Helena, Mt and 370th S&S BN Great Falls, Mt.
What were/are your duties?
In Vietnam I was infantry Spec 4. I was a paratrooper and the primary mission was to get supplies to troops in very dangerous and hard to get to areas. I lived through Hamburger Hill and various other battles. It was mostly about staying alive, many in my unit didn’t.
In the US army reserves. I was a supply Sergent. During Desert Storm I was the First Sergeant. After Desert Storm I was promoted to Command Sergent Major.
What was the training and prep for your MOS?
My personal training in the military consisted of Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Lewis in Washington, Airborne School was at Fort Benning in Georgia, Advanced NCO School, First Sergeant Academy, and Command Sergeant Academy was at Fort Bliss in El Paso Texas.
What prompted you to serve?
I was drafted right after graduating from college in 1968. I joined the reserves in 1974 for additional income.
What did you like most about the Military?
What I liked most about being in the military was traveling to places I would probably never would have seen otherwise. The people that I met. In Desert Storm we were like a family.
What was some of the greatest challenges you faced?
The greatest challenge I had in Vietnam was to stay alive. As First Sergent, my greatest challenge was to keep my unit running smoothly and keep them safe.
What was your experience coming home from Vietnam?
I had just gotten back and was waiting for my connecting flight to home at Seattle’s SEA-TAC. In uniform, I went into a restaurant and sat a table. A guy at the bar kept staring at me. He started over to my table and stood up to meet him. I knew us coming home from Vietnam were not getting a warm reception so I was prepared for anything. He was very serious and finally he asked me, “Did you just get back from Vietnam?” I said I did. Then he said, “I’m getting ready to go…” We talked for an hour as I told him what to expect as we waited for our flights.
What was the most rewarding experience?
The most rewarding experience I ever received in my career was being promoted to the highest rank an enlisted person can achieve.
How did serving affect your family? Did they find their part of service rewarding?
While serving in the reserves, my family treated it as my second job and nothing more.
What opportunities or advantages or disadvantages did you have after reentering civilian life?
I was able to buy my home on the GI Bill.
What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country?
My advice to anyone who was thinking about joining the military would be to check all the branches of service first and to answer the question for yourself, what is it that I want out of the military? Whatever you do don’t join for the wrong reason.
THANK YOU COMMAND SERGENT MAJOR KIRSCHMAN FOR YOUR SERVICE!