National Guard Major Daniel Roberts/Courtesy photo
Daniel and Kim Roberts during some down time from their busy lives. Kim Roberts is the director of Sage Cottage Preschool. Courtesy photo
National Guard Major Daniel Roberts. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos Police Department Sgt. Daniel Roberts stands outside the Department during a regular day on the job. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Police Department Sgt. Daniel Roberts is in Fort Lee, Virginia this week, not for his position with LAPD but as Major Daniel Roberts of the New Mexico National Guard. Roberts is attending the Support Operations Course held at the Army Logistics University within Fort Lee.
The course will help give Roberts a multifunctional logistics background. The program is designed to help leaders plan, manage and adaptively execute support to decisive operations within a complex operational environment. Once completed, Roberts believes this training will assist with complex emergency operations, not only within the National Guard, but also at LAPD.
Gen. Mark Miera, the Land Component Commander for the New Mexico National Guard, and COL Jamison Herrera, the 111th Sustainment Brigade Commander, have been Roberts’ bosses for several years and have been mentoring him for his move to multifunctional logistics through taking the Support Operations Course.
“I’ve been in for 16 years and they keep mentoring me. I think they want me in their shoes someday, which would be a huge honor” Roberts said. “The leaders I have always look towards the future and build their soldiers for the next position”.
Following his trip to Virginia, his next trip will be to Command and General Staff College in October.
Roberts’ military background is a mixture of active duty Army and the National Guard. He enlisted in 2003 in the U.S. Army as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter mechanic.
“I was deployed for two years to South Korea and became a crew chief which involved basically flying around inside the helicopter, conducting missions on the “DMZ”, putting out fires and conducting maintenance on the helicopters,” Roberts said. “I got promoted to a flight instructor – teaching people how to fly in the back of a helicopter because there are a lot of things happen to your body as you go up in altitude, conduct emergency maneuvers and various things that you just have to learn about in order to fly safely.”
Roberts said he wanted to become a commissioned officer and got into an Army program called Green to Gold that provides options for soldiers interested in pursuing a baccalaureate and earning a commission as an officer.
“There were 50 scholarships military-wide and I got one of 13 four-year scholarships. They said I could go to any school I wanted and they would pay for it. You’re still in the army but you go through this program in order to become a commissioned ocfficer. I picked Albuquerque because my family is from Los Alamos. I just wanted to be close to family, and I received a lot of help from my sister and Dad,” he said. “I really couldn’t have done it without them.”
Roberts earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminology at the University of New Mexico and met his wife, Kim, in the ROTC program there.
“I originally had to go back to active duty Army but I wanted to go National Guard and there’s little loophole that says that if you’re in the top 10 percent within the nation you get to choose your branch of the military and whether or not you want to go active duty. This is called the honor merit list and it includes about 4,500 officers each year. So, I was in the top 10 percent and I said I wanted to go National Guard to have a family with my soon to be wife. At the time, this was unheard of. I had to get approval from the general of the Cadet Command in order to transition into the National Guard” he said.
Roberts joined the New Mexico National Guard as a 2nd Lieutenant and was supposed to be a medivac pilot but there was a mix up with school and he was sent to a 15-week Medical Basic Officer Leadership Course prior to going to flight school. When Roberts returned, he was informed that course was supposed to come after flight school and not prior. Due to the order of school, he was now qualified as a Medical Services Officer, which is the equivalent of a hospital administrator.
“New Mexico did not have the money to send me to flight school right away since they had not projected the mix-up, so there was a year delay before I was ever going to go to flight school. I decided to turn down my spot on the flight school list and find a job. I was conducting military funerals at the time but the work was not a full-time position,” he said.
Roberts decided to apply instead for a position with LAPD to put his degree in criminology to use and joined the Department in 2010. Military-wise, he was the supervisor of the 115th Transportation Detachment located within Espanola. As he graduated the Law Enforcement Academy, he was activated to lead Operation Deep Freeze within Rio Arriba County during an abnormally cold winter which left all of Rio Arriba and Taos Counties without heat or gas. The military’s mission was to check on families and resupply the community with natural gas and restore heat.
“I was in charge of a very large operation involving several hundred soldiers – Army and Air Force. We conducted 24-hour operations for about a week. At the time, this was a very big and very successful mission,” Roberts said.
At the time, Roberts was technically a transportation officer within the 115th Transportation Company, which meant he had to be moved if he wanted to get promoted into the commanding position.
“They said you can’t fill that position since you’re a medical officer, so I had to go to the Medical Detachment which does all readiness for all soldiers – 3,200 National Guard at that time, as Medical Operations Officer there,” he said.
After several years at the New Mexico Medical Detachment, a new unit was brought into the New Mexico National Guard called the 1209th Aerial Support Medical Company; a brand-new mobile hospital consisting of 84 soldiers, medics and doctors. Then Captain Roberts, was selected as the first Commander of the 1209th ASMC. He remained in command of the 1209th for 3 ½ years which he said was a longer time than usual.
In April 2018 he was transferred to the 111th Sustainment Brigade located in Rio Rancho under Col. Jamison Herrera. Once within the 111th Sustainment Brigade, Roberts promoted to major and took over the Brigade Medical Operations position. This is where it was suggested to him to attend the Support Operations Course and transfer to become multifunctional logistics qualified.
“I started getting a lot of pressure to work towards my next rank although I’m not eligible for another three years. I’m kind of doing a whole slew of things all at once. I finished my Master’s in Criminal Justice and I am 21 credits into a second Master’s in Public Administration Management which I hope to finish next year,” Roberts said. “I am also doing a lot of military and police leadership training.”
In addition to his educational activities, Roberts completed Command Staff College for law enforcement at Northwestern University last year. Then in November, he commenced the 18-month Command and General Staff College (CGSC) for the Army. This course teaches majors the leadership skills necessary to become lieutenant colonels and move into leadership positions commanding several hundred soldiers at a time.
There are three phases to the CGSC and Roberts is currently within the second phase which involves an eight-month course in Albuquerque two to three days a month with special instructors, research papers and assignments throughout the month. There are just 10 other participants within this course. He will complete CGSC with a resident third phase course at Camp Parks in June 2020.
Asked what his next plans are, Roberts said training and education are very important and that he is honored his supervisors have the confidence to send him to these courses.
“My wife Kim has been very understanding over the years and has been patient with late nights full of assignments and papers as well as me being gone for weeks at a time. I think once I finish next June, I will have all the training and education to be successful at the next police and military levels. I would like to make Kim the priority and support her,” he said.
Kim Roberts is the director of Sage Cottage Preschool and Roberts said she does an amazing job.
Roberts will graduate the Support Operations Course at the Army Logistics University August 2 and looks forward to using his training in the military and future emergency situations for LAPD.