Veterans

March 31, 2012

LaBar's Beat

‘Citizen Soldier’ goes to war

By Ron LaBar

I first met Dan Still in one of my former lives as Deputy Director of Building and Safety for the City of Las Vegas.  Dan was a Deputy City Attorney, our “go to” guy in legal matters (disputes with contractors, etc.)  In addition to his City legal duties, Dan was a lieutenant in the Army reserves, a Special Forces guy who we quickly dubbed “Lt. Dan”, and “Rambo”, as much for his aggressive approach to his legal duties as for his Army co-career.

Dan is now “Major Dan” of the 426th Civil Affairs Battalion out of Upland California, and is training for a 429-day deployment to Afghanistan where he will be a Civil Affairs Detachment Commander under Regional Command North.  “Just in time for the spring fighting season,” he notes.

‘Major Dan’ has been deployed several times to the Middle East.  A self-described “adrenalin junky”, he does his best work under chaotic conditions. He will feel right at home in Afghanistan.

‘Major Dan’ is a senior jumpmaster who holds the record for number of jumps in one day (six) from a UH-60 at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.  In addition to jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, his other passion is dirt bike racing and at age 50, he still races.  Several years ago, he suffered a broken back in a dirt bike accident, but went right back to it after surgery and a short recuperation.

Major ‘Dan’ Still was born in Tacoma, Wa., got his bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University and his law degree from the University of Puget Sound.  His Army expertise lies in an unusual area.  He has deployed to Mongolia six times over the years and knows the country as well or better than anyone in the U. S. Army.

He has ridden the Steppes on horseback and participated in a polo-like game, which involves knocking a goat’s head through the opponent’s goal – one of the national pastimes. Dan noted that Mongolian military operations often include periodic “shot breaks” for all during which a shot of vodka is consumed (not out of a shot glass, but a coffee cup).  He also observed that in all his Mongolian travels, he never saw beef included in the traditional barbeque ““ always mutton.

‘Major Dan’ loves the law, and working in the City Attorneys Office, and is very appreciative of the support he has received from his boss, City Attorney Brad Jerbic, and Mayor Goodman and the City Council.  The City of Las Vegas is a staunch supporter of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), which works to ensure that the guardsman or reservist has a job to return to after he or she returns from deployment.

Major Dan Still personifies the image of the “Citizen Soldier”. Join me in wishing him, and all the other men and women serving overseas, a productive deployment and a safe return.

Now get over there, adrenalin junky, and straighten out some of that chaos.  We are counting on you.




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