Honoring Service on Veteran’s Day – Bookstore Manager as Reservist in Iraq

Share this post

Current info as of June 2012 – Troy Novak is now TRICARE Operations & Patient Administration Flight Commander in the United States Air Force.

Just about a year ago, Troy Novak, Manager, of the Dakota Textbook Company at The University of North Dakota, was not at the store.

“Troy is overseas in Iraq until March, I took over the general merchandising role until he gets back!,” emailed Kayla Wahlin, Assistant Manager.

I had been contacting the store to ask Troy to review his University of North Dakota diploma frame brochure, which is posted online at diplomaframe.com, in preparation for a mailing before spring commencement.

So, months later, I remembered what Kayla had said. When I had the occasion to talk to Troy after his return, I asked him if he would write about his experience for a Veteran’s Day blog.

Thank you, Troy, for sharing your experience with us and thank you for your service to our country!

So, here is what he had to say:

What part of the armed forces are you in, your rank, and where were you stationed (and when)?

Service: Air Force
Rank: Captain
Stationed: 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group, Balad, Iraq July 2009 – January 2010

wing headquarters
Wing Headquarters – 332nd Medical Group

Was this your first tour of duty or were you called back?

First Tour in Iraq

How long was your recent service and what were your duties?

6 Mos.
Primary Duty: Executive Officer for the Medical Group (Largest Medical Facility in Iraq… Level 1 Trauma Center)
Secondary Roll: Medical Civil Military Operations – basically finding ways to help improve Iraqi Healthcare through training and development programs. Personally, I led our team logistically. Additionally, I designed and built (With the help of the Civil Engineers) a facility to mock a small treatment center to help the Iraqi’s learn our methods of patient care.

medical clinic
Getting ready to go visit local medical clinics

How did you get chosen to serve since you are a manager of Dakota Textbook Company at the University of North Dakota?

I’ve served in the reserves for 12 years this October. This particular job/deployment was assigned to me based on job experience and rank. Additionally, as a citizen solider (reservists), being called to active service is something I always need to be ready for.

Could you describe a typical day?

As the Executive Officer for the hospital commander I was at his disposal. Basically, I ran his meetings and prepared/reviewed anything that was presented to him.

What did you see of the country and the people?

Mostly I saw the Air Base. Typically AF personnel do not leave a secure area unless they are part of security forces.

But there are always exceptions, and in the rotation prior to mine the Air Force took over the management of Joint Base Balad. This resulted in a need for the Air Force to engage the local population. The first tool used to enhance our local impact was the hospital’s Medical Civil Military Operations team, which I served as the logistics and management function. This gave me the opportunity to travel to some of the villages and document the condition of their medial facilities. Traveling and meeting the local people was the highlight of my tour.

How does it feel to be home?

Nice – I enjoyed my time, so adjusting back to the bookstore pace has taken a bit of work. My family is happy to have me home & it took a few weeks to get back into the swing of things. The one thing I noticed was that my family really only had themselves to rely on – so chances are the time away was harder for them.

Are you going to be doing anything special for Veteran’s Day?

As far as Veteran’s Day activities for me… This year I’ll be deer hunting – sorta missed out last year.

Hero's Highway
Lt. Novak at Hero’s Highway 332nd Medical Group in Iraq

As Lt. Novak described it, nearly every injured Solider, Sailor, Airman, or Marine in Iraq would pass under that flag as they entered the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group – which meant they had a greater than 98% chance of surviving.

U.S. Air Force Certificate Frames and Gifts

Here’s to recognizing the great dedication, sacrifice, and patriotism from Lt. Novak and other service men and women all over the country. For members of the U.S. Air Force who have been awarded medals, who have photos, as Lt. Novak has, or have received a certificate for their service, U.S.A.-made certificate frames, medal display frames, and photo frames are available online.

Air Force Masterpiece Diploma Frame Air Force Certificate Frame Air Force Medal Display & Certificate Frame Air Force Photo Frame

Did you enjoy this blog? You might be interested in these other posts…

One Veteran’s Story – Revisiting the Past – November 10, 2009

About College/University Bookstores:

The Word on Winter Weather – January 13, 2010

Art Scholarship Competition – How Did it Go? – May 10, 2010

President Obama to give ASU Commencement Address – Hottest Ticket in Tempe: President Obama to give Commencement Address at Arizona State University – May 8, 2009

Share this post