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Army Reserve general returns to alma mater of North High

Lee Elder, U.S. Army public affairs • Nov 25, 2018 at 6:00 PM

KINGSPORT — An Army Reserve general has credited much of the success in his military career and in his life to lessons he learned while a student at Sullivan North High School.

Brig. Gen. Michael D. Roache returned to his alma mater on Nov. 15 to address a group of seniors and Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) and Air Force JROTC cadets. Roache, a 1986 graduate of the school, commands the Pacific Training Division, 84th Training Command, Camp Parks, Georgia.

“Today, I am a Tennessean,” Roache said. “The very basis of who I am was forged here in Kingsport and a lot of it at Sullivan North.”

Roache was joined by local Army recruiters during his visit. He also toured the school and met a couple of former high school teammates who are now Sullivan North teachers.

“I could tell you some good stories about Mr. (Mike) Copas and Mr. (Robert) Norris,” Roache joked.

Roache was introduced by another Sullivan North alumnus: Sgt. 1st Class Curtiss Leilich, a 2004 graduate, who commands the Kingsport U.S. Army Recruiting Center.

Leilich thanked Roache for attending. He asked the 28-year veteran to explain why he chose to serve in the Army Reserve as opposed to active duty service.

“I wanted the best of both worlds,” Roach said. “It gave me the chance to be a citizen-warrior.”

While it is challenging to serve in the Army Reserve and work a full-time civilian career, Roache said it was rewarding.

“The skills I gained in the military are attractive to civilian employers,” Roache said.

North’s NJROTC cadets opened Roache’s presentation by marching in with the national and state flags. They placed them in holders during the general’s remarks and carried them out at the end. Also attending the event were Sullivan South Air Force JROTC cadets.

Chief Warrant Officer Chad Lovato, who commands the Sullivan North JROTC detachment, thanked Roache for coming. He said students should appreciate the opportunity they had to hear a Sullivan North graduate who has excelled in both the military and civilian career fields.

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