IRON RIVER, MI – A native of the Upper Peninsula has become the first JAG officer to receive the prestigious US Army Expert Soldier Badge.

Captain Rudy Dambeck of Iron River received the honor on October 9, 2020 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. A judge advocate in the JAG Corps, Dambeck said earning the badge was important to him.

“The motto of the JAG Corps is ‘Soldier first, always lawyer’ and I like to think that means something,” he said. It’s not just a cool phrase.

According to the military, the expert soldier badge is designed to improve lethality, recognize excellence in soldiers’ combat skills, and increase the military’s individual, unit and overall readiness.

It is the equivalent of the Expert Infantry Insignia and the Field Medical Expert Insignia, but is specifically intended for all other military professional specialties of the army.

Dambeck said obtaining the honor would give him first-hand experience to train better legal counsel in the field where he often finds himself advising commanders.

“When you know what weapon systems look like. When you know what medical treatment looks like. When you at least know your basic patrol and soldier duties. When a lawyer knows what it looks like, he is able to give much more informative advice to infantry company commanders who seek advice on the spot, ”he said.

He added that earning the badge makes him a more effective leader and he has a responsibility to his subordinates to set a good example by leading simultaneously.

The 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division shared the news on their Facebook page.

Captain Dambeck is a graduate of West Iron County Schools and Northern Michigan University, WLUC-TV reported.


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