Pfc. Mikayla Reynolds, of Indianola, Iowa, was part of approximately 70 Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers recently recognized during a patching ceremony held at the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center in Johnston, Iowa.
This ceremony represents a time-honored tradition, where Iowa Citizen-Soldiers officially receive the left-shoulder military patch representing their unit of assignment in the Iowa Army National Guard.
It also marks completion of the Iowa National Guard Recruit Sustainment Program, a preparatory training program that provides new recruits the education and skills needed to excel during their Army Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (military school).
These Soldiers represent today’s Iowa Army National Guard, which consists of 7,000 Citizen-Soldiers based in more than 40 communities across the state. Reynolds, a 2017 graduate of Indianola High School, now becomes a Culinary Specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 185th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, of Johnston.
Culinary specialists are primarily responsible for the preparation and service of food in field or garrison food service operations.
“I don’t have a specific reason [for joining],” Reynolds said. “It was a spur of the moment thing. But I can say that it has made me a better person and I am following in my grandpa’s footsteps.”
Reynolds was recognized as the Honor Graduate of her Culinary Specialist class for academic achievements.
By completing Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, Reynolds is now eligible for the Iowa National Guard Educational Assistance Program (NGEAP), a state-funded tuition assistance program for Iowa National Guard members who attend Iowa community colleges and four-year colleges and universities, both public and private. Under this program, Iowa National Guard members will receive tuition payment up to 100 percent of the State Regents’ rate, an amount up to $7,108 per academic year.
Reynolds, daughter of Shane Reynolds, of Indianola, and Tanya Pashek, of Osceola, Iowa, is also eligible for the Reserve Component GI Bill, which pays a Soldier $600 per month while attending college, technical or vocational trade schools. And she’ll also receive monthly drill pay and 15 days of paid duty each year for Annual Training.