Dr. Christopher King, a bioarchaeologist who lives and works on Saipan, was sworn in as a captain in the U.S Army Reserves last week under a newly revived program that pertains to cultural heritage and preservation on a national and international scale.
With the beach and the setting sun as a backdrop, King was sworn into the U.S. Army Reserves at Micro Beach, with U.S. Air Force Capt. Kimberly Hofschneider administering King’s oath.
This makes him a part of the first class of Monuments Men officers since World War II who have a special responsibility for the protection of cultural heritage that is threatened or impacted by disasters and to help U.S. and international communities preserve their identities and history.
“If there’s a disaster, whether it’s natural or man-made, like war, or conflict, or typhoon, and the nation requests help from the military, we can help them in terms of documenting what’s been lost, help them in preservation of what’s been damaged, and then cataloging artifacts, whether it’s buildings, or paintings or sculptures or things of value,” said King.
Outside of the Reserves, King works as a bioarchaeologist, which means an archaeologist with specialized skills in recovering and analyzing human remains from archaeological contexts. King also holds a master’s level experience as a forensic anthropologist, working with modern cases that fall within the scope of law enforcement investigations. He also works closely with the Historic Preservation Office.
According to King, he has never been in the military before but has worked with them as a contractor and federal employee. He has had exposure to the military since 2005 and has done some work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I like…being part of a larger cause and this happened to be an opportunity to do that. …A fellow military member told me about the program, and then I just reached out and they said I should apply. And because it’s a new program, they had to build all the procedures to bring people in so it’s taken a couple of years,” King said prior to his oath-taking.
To begin with being enlisted in the Reserves, King would have to go through basic training and later a six-week officer course. King said he would have to learn how to be a part of the military culture, which is “more than just physical fitness. …It’s exciting. It forces me to train up and be more physically active.”
King will be part of the greater Pacific region as that is where his background is and his headquarters will be in California.