Captain Mike Hubbard
I would like to dedicate this profile to my fellow paratrooper ranger buddy, Staff Sergeant Paul J. Johnson, who fell in Fallujah, Iraq on October 20, 2003. Paul and I served side by side at Fort Bragg from 1991-1993, and we had caught up with each other shortly before our deployment to Iraq. Paul was 29 years old, and a great leader.
Captain Mike Hubbard
|Capt. Hubbard, second from left, refers to this photo as "Friendly Arms Trading" as they are exchanging photos of each other with each others' weapons. This photo was taken with some of the early Iraqi security forces as they were securing local highway intersections.|
"The exposure at St. Andrews to other world cultures and people, who may not be like you, has helped me, personally, to handle some situations where diplomatic patience and forceful persuasion have met."
Capt. Mike Hubbard ’91 has seen the benefits of the international flavor of a St. Andrews education through his work with the United States Army. The Fayetteville, NC, native joined the Army Reserves after his freshman year at St. Andrews as a way to pay for school and gain experience.
"After graduation from St. Andrews, I decided to further examine what life in the Army is like by going on active duty," Hubbard said. "Enlisting allowed me to settle into the Army and gain valuable experience, find out what it was like full time, and see if it was a right fit for me. It was, obviously. After two years at Fort Bragg with the 82nd Airborne Division where we deployed to Miami, Florida in 1992 to provide humanitarian assistance after Hurricane Andrew, I was accepted to and completed officer training. Soon after this, the former Anne Blue (’89) and I were married in Bennettsville, S.C. The best move I've ever made."
A French major with a Spanish minor, Hubbard took advantage of the flexibility of the St. Andrews study abroad program to study for a year at the Sorbonne in Paris.
"All eligible students should pursue the international opportunities that St. Andrews offers actively," Hubbard said. "The faculty and my advisor, Catharine Neylans, were very flexible. I was fortunate to discover the opportunity to study at the Sorbonne in Paris, a university with which St. Andrews did not have an established exchange relationship. I challenge you to find that type of flexibility and personal program design at many larger institutions."
The skills gained in both languages and the subsequent linguistic studies have provided Hubbard with chances outside of the realm of expectation.
"For the past five years, foreign language skills have resulted directly in skill bonus pay," he said. "It has also helped qualify me for the training I am in now. I am studying Hungarian at the Defense Language Institute-Washington as part of the Foreign Area Officer (FAO) program. While recent Army requirements will not allow me to complete the entire three-year training plan as a FAO, the language skills will provide staff and command job opportunities at a time when the military is looking to establish new bases in Central and Eastern Europe.
"The ranks of the U.S. Army are not just filled with American citizens," he continued. "I worked with a Staff Sergeant from Liberia, a driver from Germany, chaplains from Ukraine, civil affairs officers from Hungary, and the list goes on. Several foreign nationals join our Army as a way to help gain citizenship. St. Andrews gave me the foundation of cultural sensitivities to effectively lead a group of people like this."
Hubbard completed a tour of duty in Iraq with an airborne artillery battery with the 82nd Airborne Division in March after which the family, which includes children Emily, 7, and Sam, 2, moved to Washington, DC for the Hungarian language program. The mission to Iraq was "the highlight" of his career to date.
"The toughest challenge was fielding the first units of the fledgling Iraqi Army," he said. "It was an awesome experience to be able to address their troops and discuss with them the actual sacrifices they were making, and the fear they were experiencing. They know, for the most part, they are at an historical time for their country and they desperately want to emerge from this period of their history as a strong, positive presence in the region. And you can take it from me, the vast majority are very glad Saddam Hussein is gone, and most would put a bullet in his head if only given the opportunity."
Hubbard plans to pursue a graduate program in Security Studies if his Army commitment allows before heading to Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., to attend Command and General Staff College following the promotion to the rank of Major.
"The time away from home and family is the most trying," Hubbard said. "Anne and our children have seen me come and go several times over the years, and will more in the near future, I'm afraid. The kids are sprouting like weeds and Sam is trying to keep up with his big sister who is in the second grade. They are reassured though with the fact that we have the best equipment and training the American taxpayer can afford, and an active support network within the Army."