This Soldier Says: When it Comes to Career, You Set Your Own Destiny

SFC William "Dale" Bart

SFC William "Dale" Bart

Growing up “pretty much dirt poor” on a farm in West Virginia, a young William “Dale” Bart wouldn’t have dreamed he would go to Panama, Honduras, Bosnia, and Iraq; learn Arabic; or pack up and move thousands of miles from home to Alaska.

But as an adult, this is what he believes: “You set your own destiny as far as your career goes. Where you came from doesn’t matter at all. It’s who you are and what you strive to become.”

This philosophy serves Sergeant First Class Bart well in his position as a Recruiting and Retention Section Chief for the Alaska Army National Guard. His job is to reach out to 17- to 24-year-olds and introduce them to the Guard way of life — which is all about serving the country and serving one’s community while pursuing a degree and/or a full-time civilian career.

The opportunities that come with that part-time service have led to a full-time career in the Guard for SFC Bart, who joined nearly 19 years ago at age 17. After attending a presentation by a recruiter who happened to be his Pee Wee football coach, he decided Guard life was a good fit: He could attend a local college while serving part-time.

When he joined, SFC Bart chose 31B-Military Police as his Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Guard trainings and deployments took him to a number of countries, including Iraq, where he trained Iraqi police officers and learned enough Arabic to become a “novice conversationalist.”

He also pursued law enforcement as his civilian career working with the Richmond (Va.) City Sheriff’s Department and was able to arrange an interstate transfer to the Virginia National Guard so that both of his jobs would be located closer together.

But after years of working against narcotics and gangs (“I got to see a whole lot of the bad.”), SFC Bart signed up immediately when the opportunity to become a full-time Guard recruiter became available in 2009.

“I saw I could change young people’s lives in a positive way instead of always affecting them in a negative way when they’re on the wrong side of the law.”

In 2013, after leading his State in recruitment for three years, he learned of an opening for the Senior Marketing Non-Commissioned Officer position in Alaska. He has since gone back to recruiting, but because both jobs focus on promoting the benefits of Guard service, both roles were a natural fit.

One of the biggest advantages to Guard service, he says, is money for college.

“I’m actually still using my college benefits today,” he says of the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice he’s pursuing online from Thomas Edison State College.

The leadership skills that the military instills in its Soldiers are also invaluable, Bart says, because you learn how to be part of a team and how to manage people.

He explains that being a Guardsman makes you a “valuable asset to any civilian career field, whether it’s being a manager at McDonald’s, up to being CEO at a company. Once you learn to be a leader, you’re a leader in every aspect of life.”

Other positives are the camaraderie Soldiers develop with each other — that’s how SFC Bart landed his first civilian police job.

“That person that you’re serving with all weekend might be able to open you up to a job opportunity.”

But most important is this: “You get to serve your country and your community. Sure, it’s part-time service, but you’re still a part of something bigger than yourself: You get to affect the lives of your neighbors in a positive way.”

His advice to anyone considering the Guard is an emphatic, “Do it.”

“I have 18 years, 11 months of service, and I would not give a day of service back to win a million dollars. I wouldn’t trade any of the things I’ve been able to experience and learn, or the people I’ve been exposed to.”

If you’d like to gain all the benefits of part-time service with the National Guard, check out our jobs board and contact a recruiter today.


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May’s Hot Job Is … 31B Military Police

Now that On Your Guard is back online, we plan to pick one hot job each month throughout 2015 and tell you a bit about it. What defines each featured job as “hot”? One all-important benchmark: number of times people searched for it on the National Guard jobs board. So, without further ado, let’s get started.


For anyone thinking about starting down a law enforcement or security services career path, the 31B-Military Police military occupational specialty (MOS) in the Army National Guard may well be the best first step possible. In fact, 31B is, hands down, the most searched for MOS on the jobs board.

Just like their civilian counterparts, military police, or MPs, are called upon to preserve law and order. That means preventing and investigating crimes, providing surveillance, gathering evidence, patrolling the base, controlling crowds, and providing security to keep the peace. They also respond to natural disasters and other emergencies on the home front.

Besides its primary mission to serve local communities, the National Guard is also called upon to serve the Nation. Military police who are called to active duty in a war zone support battlefield operations. This could include working with intelligence officers to deal with prisoners of war and guarding senior officers. The Guard’s military police also have been called upon to train police forces in other countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking of training, 31Bs attend 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, followed by 8-10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training for their MOS. Advanced training includes both classroom and in-the-field instruction, and you’ll learn how to conduct police work, from crowd control techniques to how to restrain suspects and investigate crimes. The Guard also offers MPs additional opportunities for specialized training, such as an Interviewing and Interrogation Course and an Active Shooter Response Course.

The National Guard is a part-time commitment, which allows Soldiers to simultaneously serve and work toward a degree and/or pursue a civilian career. So, once you’re finished with Basic and Advanced training, you’ll have time to take advantage of the Guard’s outstanding education benefits, like tuition assistance and the Montgomery GI Bill. From there, you’ll be able to combine that education with the experience you’ll have as an MP to become an excellent law enforcement/security job candidate.

Plus, as SPC Stephen Strebinger explains in this video, MP training can give you a better feel for what area of civilian police work you want to pursue. He says he’s working toward a degree in criminal justice, and “the Guard’s paying for me to get there.”

For more information about how you can join the Guard’s military police, or learn more about any of its 200 career fields, visit the National Guard jobs board and contact a recruiter today.

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Guard Spotlight: Missouri

Homeland Response Force MPs Attend Chemical Defense Training

Specialist Sarah Mitchell, 1175th Military Police Company, identifies an unknown agent with M8 detection paper. Mitchell was one of more than 90 MPs from the unit who participated in specialized chemical defense training last month. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear)

Specialist Sarah Mitchell, 1175th Military Police Company, identifies an unknown agent with M8 detection paper. Mitchell was one of more than 90 MPs from the unit who participated in specialized chemical defense training last month. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear)

A group of Missouri Army National Guard military police underwent specialized chemical defense training for the first time ever last month at the chemical defense training facility that’s headquartered at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

The pioneering effort is the brainchild of Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear, along with Capt. Scott Wolf and 1st Sgt. Gabe Medina — all members of the 1175th Military Police Company based out of St. Clair and St. Louis.

More than 90 Soldiers from the unit’s Homeland Response Force (HRF) were selected to attend. That was a significant number, Medina says, and it heightened the exercise’s realistic, high-stress approach.

“Soldiers were given medical exams and initially took part in basic safety instruction sessions,” Medina said. Then “we were all fitted with protective equipment, including a service light-weight integrated suit and a protective mask.”

In each training scenario, the Soldiers were taught to detect and identify various chemical agents. Chemical alarms signaled the seriousness of the live agent training.

“Soldiers responded to the training techniques they received from the staff with confidence,” Medina said. After the live-agent identification session ended, Soldiers took a hands-on approach to decontaminating themselves and their equipment.

The day ended with a medical screening and a review of the eventful day, as they shared stories about their own experiences.

Capt. Michael Tompkins and other trainers said the experiment gave the MP Soldiers a “dynamic training opportunity” to gain confidence in themselves and the equipment used in a live nerve agent and toxic chemical environment.

“I hope it is not the last, and I look forward to any training opportunities that may take place in the future,” Tompkins said.

If you have an interest in gaining the training it takes to provide our Nation with top-notch emergency response, explore the National Guard jobs board and contact a recruiter today.


Original article by Staff Sgt. Amanda Barginear, 1175th Military Police Company, appeared last month in the news section of

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