Aged 16 when the attacks on 9/11 occurred, Reynolds made the decision that he would enlist in the military when he turned 18. Urged by his parents to get a college education first, he enlisted in the US Army on the day he graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2006. Reynolds entered as a Specialist (E-4). He breezed through Basic and AIT, graduated from Airborne and Air Assault schools. Upon graduating, he was promoted to Corporal (E-4). In 2007, Reynolds deployed with the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division to Afghanistan. He redeployed in 2010 to Afghanistan. There, he took part in Operation: Dragon Strike. His actions during a combat patrol earned him an Army Commendation Medal, which he received when he returned to the United States in 2011. He was promoted for his service in Afghanistan to Sergeant (E-5). Upon returning to the US, Reynolds attended Pathfinder School and Ranger School, passing through both handily.
He then received approval to attempt the Special Forces Qualification Course. He was selected in SFAS and entered the Q Course shortly thereafter as an 18B (Weapons Sergeant) and promoted to Staff Sergeant (E-6). During Robin Sage, Reynolds stood out among his fellow candidates for successfully leading a rebel element in a major UW operation after his CO was injured in a freak radio tower accident. Details are fuzzy, but this earned Reynolds the call-sign "Static" for much of his career. Reynolds completed SFQC in 2014 and was sent to ODA 5412, Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. There, he and his team attended the Military Free-fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course, the Special Forces Advanced Mountain Operations School, and deepened their knowledge in courses at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. Over time, Reynolds was eventually trained for and given the 18F (Intelligence Sergeant) position on his team, in which he excelled. ODA 5412 engaged in several operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Reynolds was promoted to Sergeant First Class (E-7). During one such operation, ODA 5412's 180A (Assistant Detachment Commander) was severely wounded. Reynolds' team lead recommended that he try for the now open Warrant Officer position. In late 2016, he was promoted to Warrant Officer (W-1) and given the 180A slot in ODA 5412.
In mid 2017, ODA 5412 was deployed to Chernarus and Takistan as part of NATO mission Steadfast Reaction (SRM). Reynolds coordinated with his CDF counterparts to engage in a COIN and CT operation in Takistan. While preparing for the operation in July of 2017, the Russian military struck an old Soviet site in the north of South Zagoria. Retasked to NATO CFOR’s MNBG East, ODA 5412 conducted reconnaissance on the situation. In their observations, they reported a biological outbreak had begun to spread near the initial strike point. Soon after, the virus became the primary objective for all Russian, CDF, and NATO forces in the region. Reynolds' team coordinated air strikes and attempted to assist both CDF and MNBG East in stopping the spread of the virus. Failing this, ODA 5412 was severely diminished in strength, losing their Detachment Commander and a few others. A massive storm raged from July 20 until early July 24, causing Reynolds to lose contact with HQ CFOR on Utes Island. He and the surviving members of ODA 5412 decided to find other NATO forces.
John Reynolds' Story