When he began his career in the Nebraska Army National Guard in 1981, Gary Ropers was looking for a way to pay for college, but forty years later he is now the Brigadier General. Brig. Gen. Ropers started his career as a tank turret mechanic with the Broken Bow Unit of the National Guard where he moved up the ranks.
“I had plenty of opportunities to move up within the organization of the Guard and take on new challenging positions,” said Brig. Gen. Ropers. “I was enlisted for ten years and then when I became an officer a lot more opportunities came my way, I was able to take those on and I have enjoyed it.”
Throughout his time in the Guard, Brig. Gen. Ropers stated there have been many great memories, but his deployment to Afghanistan in 2007 was the one that sticks out the most. Brig. Gen. Roper said he led a twelve-man mentoring team to the Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan to help mentor the police force in the region.
“We were actually the first unit to help mentor the police department within the districts,” said Brig. Gen. Roper.
Now into his new role, Brig. Gen. Roper will oversee the Army National Guard units in Nebraska encompassing around 3,300 soldiers.
“Like most of the Generals in the Nebraska National Guard, our focus is to make sure we have the right individuals set up for leadership within the organizations from the company, battalion, and brigade level, so we can help support, not only the great nation, but also the state of Nebraska,” said Brig. Gen. Roper.
Those interested in joining the Nebraska Army National Guard or would like more information can visit nationalguard.com or contact a recruiter in the area.
“There are so many opportunities for an individual to join the Guard. You have the ability to fly helicopters, jump out of helicopters, become a scout, truck driver, mechanic, it runs the gambit,” said Brig. Gen. Roper. “The big thing for me, just like it is now, is paying for college. It’s expensive to go to college for kids and if they want to go to college the assistance is out there to help not only the soldier but their family as well.”
Full Interview with Brig. Gen. Gary Ropers: