BY VICTOR G. MIMONI
Friday, June 13, 2008
Army Captain Hany Noureddine is just your typical American of
multiple ethnic heritage, who credits the United States Army with
helping him succeed.
The 12-year veteran currently commands a company of 62 enlisted
personnel, which operates seven recruitment centers in Queens and
"There's a lot of misunderstanding about what we do," he declared.
Noureddine grew up in an Italian-Brazilian-Lebanese household in
Astoria, where such cultural diversity "didn't seem unusual at all."
He graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island
City in 1996.
"I had a 93 average," he recalled. "I enlisted because I wanted the
discipline - and money for college." While stationed in North
Carolina, as a mechanic, "I used the programs," Noureddine said.
He enrolled at nearby Park University at night - the college
participates in the "College of the American Soldier," a network of
24 colleges which grant up to 23 college credits for various military
training and studies.
By the end of his first three-year "hitch," Noureddine, by then a
sergeant, had an Associate's Degree. Returning home to Queens as a
reservist, he enrolled in the Army's "Green to Gold" program.
Under the program, the Army pays for the enlisted person's college
education, and at graduation, they are commissioned as a Second
Lieutenant. He attended Hunter College under the G.I. Bill for a
year, then attended St. John's University in Jamaica, and
participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
"The Army paid for everything - even my room and board at St. John's," he said.
In 2001, a commissioned officer with a bachelor's degree in Political
Science, Noureddine joined an Air Defense unit in Texas. After a tour
in Kuwait and Iraq, he returned to a training brigade in Texas, where
he attended Webster University, earning a master's degree in Human
Resources and Management. He was promoted to Captain in 2004.
"People don't realize how many different jobs there are in the Army,
and how extensive the educational opportunities are," Noureddine
said. He pointed out that there are 150 "operating specialties" and
there are many assignments which most people wouldn't associate with
"I spent some time on the Army volleyball team," he confided. "We
played against other service teams and national teams from other
countries." The armed forces have 26 teams and 8 of them are
year-round, he explained.
"Many other countries' Olympic teams are drawn from their military,"
he explained. Some U.S. military members go to the Olympics. They
spend half the year at the Olympic Village and half at a military
base, according to Noureddine.
"Most people don't know much about the military," he said, "They
don't know the jobs we offer, the places we go or what deployments are like."
"People think everybody goes to Iraq to patrol the streets of
Baghdad," he complained. "While some certainly do, we also need
mechanics, pharmacists, water purification specialists,
administrative personnel and air traffic controllers. Those jobs are
in demand," he declared.
The Army has detachments in over 100 countries, he explained - from
foreign affairs offices with 15 to 20 soldiers in 50 countries, to
humanitarian missions consisting of 100 to 700 troops in Africa,
South America, Europe and the mid-east.
Unlike "the old days" where people enlisted and then found out they
weren't qualified for the jobs they were promised, Noureddine
explained that nowadays the Army does initial screening and
candidates take a test first.
"We'll go to the home and show them what they are qualified for -
they can reserve a job for seven days while they decide on their own," he said.
"The fact is that education is very important in today's Army,"
Noureddine explained. It was the return of teen-aged veterans from
World War II that led to the creation of the General Equivalency
Diploma, he revealed.
"Of 520,000 soldiers in the regular Army, 264,000 are taking
courses," he said, adding, "Every day 15 soldiers get a degree, from
Associate to Doctoral," he said.
For more information on opportunities in the U.S. Army contact the
Queens Recruiting Company at 718-747-2309.