RICHMOND, Va. –
Capt. Samuel Ignacio is the first Filipino American to serve as a battery commander in the Virginia National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He started his career in 2005 as an enlisted Soldier, serving for seven years as a 42A Human Resources Specialist before earning his commission.
“I joined for three reasons,” Ignacio said. “To serve in the military like my father and grandfather, to have college paid for [and] to prove that I can make it in the military.”
Ignacio’s father served for 22 years in the U.S. Navy, while his his grandfather served in the Army during World War II.
At the start of his career, Ignacio served in the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and deployed with them in 2007. He worked at the National Guard Bureau for a time, and completed his degree from Old Dominion University and earned his commission through the Virginia National Guard’s Officer Candidate School in 2012.
Currently, Ignacio is deployed to the Central Command area of operations where he and approximately 300 other 1-111th Soldiers are providing personnel and site protection using the Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar System, or C-RAM. He commands 1-111th’s Alpha Battery and he sites the opportunity to serve in that role during a combat deployment as one of the most memorial points in his career, along with being able to “slap on a combat patch to Soldiers as I did 15 years ago.”
Over the course of his career, Ignacio has enjoyed meeting people from unique and varied backgrounds. His favorite part of military service, he says, “Is meeting, networking and learning from different people from all around Virginia and the world. Receiving mentorship, skills and just learning about peoples’ backgrounds is fascinating. Some of my best friends are my brothers and sisters in arms that [I] share a bond with.”