MARYSVILLE – Brig. Gen. Vincent Buggs wants his new command in Marysville to be more involved in the community.
He even has had talks with Jon Nehring and Barbara Tolbert, the mayors of Marysville and Arlington, along with Jesica Stickles, director of the Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce. Just last weekend a unit was in Marysville for its annual Touch a Truck event.
Buggs said many of the Army Reserve soldiers who work for him part-time also work full-time locally so they are already part of the community. The skills those soldiers have from their civilian jobs come in handy when they support troops elsewhere or when responding to disasters.
He wants to develop relationships with their bosses so they have a better understanding of how important it is that reserves participate in their training each month. “We have a phenomenal group of men and women,” he said, adding their sacrifice helps make our country strong.
Buggs said he knows many people are affected when his reserves are gone from their regular lives for training or deployment. It is not just hard on their families and friends, and the places where they work. It can be hard on their churches, civic groups, youth sports teams or other areas where reserves volunteer. “They help out everywhere,” he said of his units. He said the Marysville-Arlington areas are supportive of the military. “All over this town they thank me for my service with a hug, handshake or pat on the back,” he said.
Buggs said he would like to give back to the community by helping out and instilling Army values of good citizenship. For example, some of his troops volunteer at nearby Shoultes Elementary School. And he is looking at other local events for other opportunities to “support what we can,” he said.
An event Buggs wants to put on next year would be an Open House at the command called “Helmet and Heels” where the public could learn more about the post. There would also be activities for kids, such as bouncy houses.
Buggs, who oversees 3,200 soldiers in six Western states from his Marysville headquarters, has been in the Army for 28 years. He has seen a lot of changes during that time. And he is involved in another now.
His 364th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is tasked with maintaining higher levels of peacetime readiness – called U.S. Army Reserve Ready Force X. RFX units are prepared to mobilize and deploy on compressed timelines. Units need to be ready to fight within days or weeks, not months or years.
Buggs said the U.S. has been at war for 15-plus years. “Reserves have been at war for so long supporting combat” units, he said.
But the enemy is changing, he added. “It’s not just the Middle East,” he said. “It’s not all conventional forces. It’s not big army against big army.”
Instead, it can be groups within a country. They are harder to identify. “They don’t wear uniforms,” he said.
As a result, his units have to be more compact and agile. They go through challenging individual and crew training, as well as tough tactical, operational and joint exercises to generate higher readiness. “They need to be ready to go if needed – whenever the nation calls,” Buggs said. “It redefines what the reserves are. We can’t bring a big pile of stuff like back in the day.”
He said the same goes for working with the National Guard helping during natural disasters. They support others with basic needs like food, transportation and medical. “Our job is to make sure we maintain lives,” he said.
Buggs said the Army Reserves is a great place to go for someone who is looking for something different in life.
It is part-time, so people can figure out if they like it or not. And they can learn skills that can be used for jobs in the civilian sector.
Among his awards are the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak-leaf clusters and Combat Action Badge. He served twice in Iraq. He is a native of Louisiana. He and his wife live in Tampa, Fla.