Local Heroes: A Family Tradition

A Niobrara County High School senior, Kyle Anderson is a fresh new recruit to the Wyoming Army National Guard. Recruited by Sergeant (SGT.) Juan Cardenas, a 2012 Wyoming Army National Guard recruit himself, SGT. Cardenas has spent the last six months as a new recruiter in our area. “As a recruiter I am, and my fellow recruiters, are the face of the National Guard. We are the first thing future soldiers see and the last. It is my job to make sure that the community knows I am here and willing to help in any way that I can. Lusk is a great community when it comes to finding hard working honest folks. The ranch life is not an easy one and I can only hope that you accept me into your community as I accept future soldiers into my life. Thank you for your support” states SGT. Cardenas. 

SGT. Cardenas, a Wright high school graduate, joined the guard as an artillery man and has since served a deployment to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf doing convoy security and security forces. Originally, SGT. Cardenas joined the National Guard in part, “with a goal to become the best I could at whatever challenge I faced”. Now, that challenge has changed forms, “As I progressed through the ranks, I was given the chance to lead great soldiers as a Truck Chief and was later presented with an opportunity to enlist future soldiers into the guard which brings me to where I am now”. In his commitment to recruiting, SGT. Cardenas explains, “In small schools sometimes young adults are over looked when it comes to receiving money for school or future education, so I can help alleviate some of that stress as well as provide purpose for someone who may be lost. Education is key when it comes to the National Guard and a lot of the kids in school look up to a person in uniform. If an appearance is all it takes to motivate and drive young students, then I will make sure that I am present at all times”. 

Roughly two weeks into his career with the Wyoming Army National Guard, Kyle Anderson is ranked as a Private, has a MOS of 11-Bravo, or infantry man, and a ship out date for basic training. “Being in the guard gives you the opportunity to serve not only in foreign conflicts but domestic ones as well. It lets you be what we call a Citizen Soldier and there is no greater feeling than being that hometown hero and there for the ones you love most. You do have the chance to choose not only your MOS but as well as your duty location. Attending drill is a must with the intent to train and train hard” says SGT. Cardenas, adding, “I think it [Wyoming Army National Guard] will instill that lack of discipline and work ethic that has faded over the years. It gives the youth something to take pride in and not only that, gives their community a sense of pride as well. Joining any branch of service speaks volumes of someone’s character as well as their commitment. Being a soldier isn’t for everyone”. 

Private Anderson hopes to make a twenty-year full career out of his enlistment. He credits his personal reasons for enlistment as a desire, “To make a difference, to serve, and to protect” along with the chance at carrying on his families military tradition. A tradition he spoke heavily of with SGT. Cardenas when talking enlistment. “I have Private Kyle Anderson who fought for what he wanted and we made it there together. I am very proud of the effort he put in” comments SGT. Cardenas. 

With Private Anderson as one of SGT. Cardenas early recruits for this area, SGT. Cardenas is hopeful for other prospective recruits he is actively working with in Niobrara County, but for all of his recruits he hopes, “I want my soldiers—brothers and sisters—to strive for perfection. To be humble in victory and defeat and to always enjoy what they are doing. They carry a big responsibility on their shoulders when they put on this uniform [and] now it’s up to them to make great things happen. Be successful and be resilient”. 

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