Kyle Castle, desktop support analyst at UC Irvine, has been serving a six-year contract with the US Army Reserve from 2018-2024. He traveled from Irvine, California to South Carolina for basic training and then to Georgia to the US Army Signal School. His first active orders were in 2020, taking him to Fort Knox, Kentucky and then overseas to Kuwait, where he was stationed for nine months. During his contract, which is still active today, he could be called back to active duty any time. Castle recently shared views on his service in the military and his work in Information Technology (IT) at UC Irvine during an interview with the UC IT blog editors, below.
What were your key take-aways from serving in the military?
“Comradery….and diversity make a world of difference.”
I learned that building relationships with my fellow soldiers, especially when working through tough situations, makes a world of difference. To that I would add the diversity of the people I met from all over the country. These were people I would never have had the chance to meet or speak with. I had grown up in Southern California my entire life and had never really traveled much. I spent a lot of time living and working with people with cultures and backgrounds from different parts of the country or even the world. Getting to know one another and becoming friends is something I value in my work. It is an important part of teamwork and something that I bring back to my work at UC Irvine today.
The military also provided critical training in working under pressure, paying attention to detail, adapting to change, not to mention the importance of excellent communications. I learned to speak and answer questions clearly, even under stress. These skills are important in my day-to-day work.
How do you describe your work in the military and UC Irvine?
Today, for the Army Reserve, I am a signal support system specialist. I trained on the army’s communications equipment ranging from computer systems to radios and antennas – anything that involves communications for the army. [On LinkedIn, Kyle describes his work as follows: Maintain radio and data distribution systems; perform signal support functions and technical assistance for computer systems; provide technical assistance and training for local area networks; and maintenance for equipment, terminal devices, assigned vehicles and power generators.]
I started working at UC Irvine in 2015, but, in 2020 I was called into active duty to by the Army. I had to leave my job for 1 year. My team at UC Irvine was very accommodating with me and my military leave.
With the UC Irvine IT Department, I provide desktop support, working directly with clients to service their computer issues, taking on anything that goes wrong. My team and I fix problems using a ticketing system. I have been in this role since I started at UC Irvine in 2015 and enjoy it very much. It is satisfying to help people and “save the day” by resolving a technical challenge they are facing. I enjoy knowing I helped them and hearing words of thanks. I also enjoy the intellectual challenge: when there is a difficult problem to solve that can take some time, it brings out our critical thinking skills and we take time to think outside the box. I enjoy figuring out something that was otherwise impossible to solve. It is always cool to resolve the issue. [On LinkedIn, Kyle describes his work in more detail: Manage incident tickets assigned, ensuring maximum issue resolution in minimum time with excellent customer service; provide end-user problem resolution with remote desktop tools, over the phone and in person; image, install and maintain computers and devices; active directory user account management; printing environment installation and maintenance; virus/malware protection and remediation; software installation and support; network troubleshooting and support; plan and implement various IT projects as assigned.]
Are there any events and/or news/resources you care to share with us today?
I was happy to know that Veterans Day was being celebrated at UC Irvine again this year. This makes me proud.