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NEWS | Sept. 22, 2022

Profile in Professionalism: Master-at-Arms 1st Class Lashawn Reaves

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Horne, Navy Reserve Region Readiness and Mobilization Command, Jacksonville

Thousands of sentries, both men and women, guard the entrances to naval bases around the world. One of them ended up there by losing a bet.

In 2004, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Lashawn O. Reaves was a civilian police officer watching a football game with a friend who just so happened to be a recruiter for the Navy Reserve. In the excitement and competition of rooting for their favorite teams, they made a friendly wager: If Reaves’ team lost, he would have to enlist.

The final score would set the course for Reaves for the next two decades, as his commitment to honor a friendly wager became a commitment to serve, support and defend the constitution.

“I came up short on the bet, so I had to join,” said Reaves. “Losing that bet changed the trajectory of my life in one of the best ways imaginable,”

Reaves, a police officer in his home state of South Carolina since 2001, is locally assigned to Navy Reserve Center Columbia, and often stands guard at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard using his years of combined civilian and military experience to ensure the safety of his Shipmates, their families and guests. He also experienced a year-long deployment in Bagram, Afghanistan, working detainee operations.

The Afghanistan deployment added to his already impressive repertoire of life experiences, but Reaves insists it is the human aspect of working in the Navy Reserve that he loves the most. Reaves said he is motivated by the mentorship aspect of being a Navy leader, ensuring enlisted personnel are provided information and direction for their professional and personal development.

"My most meaningful Navy Reserve experience is probably each time I sit down with a junior Sailor and conduct a career development board,” he said. 

Reaves has now served on the police force for 23 years and in the Navy Reserve for 18 years. The only professional goals he has left are to retire honorably from both of his force protection roles. In his personal life, he intends to spend as much time as possible with his family, play music and travel. As a married man with five children, his personal goals will likely make for an eventful, well-earned retirement.

Nearly two decades protecting the citizens of this country all started with a bet that paid off. Thank you for your service, Shipmate.