Sustaining Relations With Civil Affairs: An Army Reserve Officer Deploying World-Wide

Peter Fechtmann


Peter Fechtmann grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, with his parents and his older sister. His dad was a menswear and sportswear salesman, and his mother managed the household. He enjoyed sports as a boy and attended Valley Forge Military Academy, where he participated in JROTC. He started out at Gettysburg College but later switched to Temple University, graduating from the Fox School of Business. ROTC interested him (based on previous exposure to the program), and the financial benefits were also appealing. He enjoyed the camaraderie and his field experiences at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, and Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He branched Field Artillery and was assigned to the 50th Armored Division. In 1998, he transitioned to Civil Affairs, finding the independence and creativity of that branch attractive. As a Civil Affairs Officer, he deployed to Kosovo (2001), Iraq (2003-2004), Mali (2006), Germany (2006-2007), and Afghanistan (2010). On these deployments, he helped improve local economies during Peacekeeping Operations, supported internally displaced persons, helped a host-nation army become more effective, and assisted counter-terrorism missions. He learned how to maintain peace between factions in Kosovo, which was a “good primer for Iraq and Afghanistan.” He frequently worked with Special Forces teams, training local forces and interfacing with Peace Corps volunteers, the United Nations Childrens’ Education Fund, and USAID (US Agency for International Development). He has learned to look at the world through different lenses, realizing that people everywhere want security for their families and education for their children. Being in the Army Reserve, he has had to balance his family and civilian life with his role as a Civil Affairs Officer, noting it was more challenging earlier in his career. In the civilian sector, he has worked for various businesses as a manager or project manager, leveraging his leadership experience. He is proud of establishing airborne status for his civil affairs unit, finding that to be a critical specialty that helps build confidence. At the end of the interview, he reflects on what his service means to him, declaring that he is proud his family can live in a free country, and is gratified that, through Civil Affairs, he gives people hope.


conflicts Iraq War Afghanistan War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Civilians Peacekeeping
interviewer David Siry
date 06 April 2023


name Peter Fechtmann
institution Temple University
graduation year 1990
service Field Artillery / Civil Affairs
service dates 1990