Fresh off digging Buffalo out from under seven feet of snow, our December NFM Salute sat down with us to discuss why the Army National Guard is more than just “weekend warriors”. In fact, after tours in Iraq, Egypt, and Afghanistan, he exemplifies why there is so much more to this military force.

NFM Lending is pleased to honor Lieutenant Colonel Jason Secrest, ARNG, as the NFM Salute for December 2022.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, Secrest knew from a young age that he wanted to serve his country. Both his grandfathers were WWII Veterans, and listening to their stories made him want to pursue a similar path. So, in 1999, Secrest enlisted in the Army National Guard (ARNG). Three years later, in 2002, he received his commission with the Pennsylvania National Guard while in Troop C 1-104th Cavalry.

From 2005-2006, Secrest and his team deployed to Ar-Ramadi, Iraq, to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. “It was IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and a lot of raids, street combat; it was a real wakeup call for a young kid from Central Pennsylvania,” said Secrest. “A couple of IED explosions really rocked me. It’s just a surreal moment when you’re walking and see a puff of dust kick up next to you and you realize someone just took a shot at you.” Secrest’s courage and leadership earned him two Bronze Star Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.

Later in 2008, his unit deployed to Egypt to join the Multinational Force and Observers, an international peacekeeping force. As a member of this group, Secrest enforced Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty mandates in the Sinai Peninsula. In 2012, Secrest went to Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a Support Operations Advisor to the Afghan Army. He taught combat tactics and logistics to Afghan soldiers and officers.

Secrest currently serves with the New York National Guard and leads its 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment. “I think people look at the National Guard as a weekend warrior mentality: one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer,” said Secrest. “I’m here to tell you that one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer turned into three overseas tours, deployments to combat zones, and two COVID-19 mobilizations.”

In addition to serving his county, Secrest serves his community as a full-time real estate agent in the Washington metro area. With his busy schedule, Secrest still finds time to volunteer as Senior Vice Commander of National Defense Post #46. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Stacey.

The NFM Salute is an initiative in which one military member or Veteran is honored as the “Salute of the Month.” Salutes are chosen from nominations on the NFM Salute website, The “Salute of the Month” is featured on the website with a biography and information about their service. NFM Lending will donate to a nonprofit in the Salute’s name. NFM Lending is proud to present $2,500 to the Order of the Buffalo City Guard in honor of Secrest. NFM looks forward to the opportunity to continue to honor military service members and Veterans through the NFM Salute initiative.