Jason Rodriguez sometimes leads a very busy life — both during the week and on weekends.
He is not only a full-time student at Missouri Western State College, but he works part time at the Food 4 Less on North 36th street and is a member of the 135th Signal Battalion, Missouri Army National Guard.
“(It’s the) best part-time job you can have,” Mr. Rodriguez says of working in the Guard, mimicking its ads. “In all actuality, it is.”
Adding that Guard duty is only one weekend a month, he says, “You feel a part of something, and it gives you more of a purpose.”
Mr. Rodriguez, who holds the rank of specialist, has been a member of the battalion for more than five years and has traveled with the unit to summer camps in Wisconsin, Kansas, Colorado and Missouri. He also is scheduled to go to summer camp with the unit when it goes to Central America next year.
The mission of the signal battalion is to supply communications with higher headquarters units within the 35th Infantry Division, located in the central United States. His job is as multi-channel transmission systems operator/maintainer — or to use the Army’s job classification, 31R or 31 Romeo.
Mr. Rodriguez’s specific unit is called Detachment 1 and is stationed out of the Mayes Memorial Armory in St. Joseph on Woodbine Road, with the rest of Company B stationed in Nebraska. Last weekend, the entire unit got together in St. Joseph for a Field Training Exercise, with units setting up radio relays at locations around the immediate area.
His job in the detachment has given him the opportunity to attend MWSC, where he goes to school under a State Sponsored National Guard educational program to pursue a degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice.
Mr. Rodriguez says he has made a lot of friends in the battalion and enjoys being in the signal unit at St. Joseph, where, he says, “You have one goal, and it makes you feel good to meet that goal.”