Darryl J. Reyes - US Army - Tampa, FL
Education and Training Accomplishments:
- University of Notre Dame, BA, 1979.
- Temple University School of Law, JD, 1982.
- US Army Command and General Staff College, Certificate, 1995
- US Naval War College, MA, 2005.
- US Army Airborne School
- US Army Advanced Airborne School
- US Army Ranger School
- US Army Special Forces Assessment Course
- US Army Air Assault Course
- Canadian Airborne School
- US Army Military Intelligence School
- Basic Officers Course
- Advanced Officers Course
- Counterintelligence Course
- Commissioned 2LT, Military Intelligence (MI) 1979. Retired, Colonel/06 2013.
- Commanded: SF/MI Detachment; MI Company; MI Battalion; Brigade x 2 (USEUCOM Joint Analysis Center; National Security Agency – Georgia)
- Director: Multi-National Forces Iraq Combined/Joint Intelligence/Operations Center, Baghdad IZ
- ISAF Intelligence Plans Directorate, Kabul AFG
- Primary staff intelligence officer (S2/G2): Infantry Battalion, Friedberg FRG
- Special Forces Battalion, 10th SFGA, FDMA
- Special Forces Group, 3rd SFGA, FBNC
- 101st Airborne Division
Other primary staff officer:
- MI Battalion, Fort Bragg NC
- HQ INSCOM, Fort Belvoir VA
- Deputy Commander:
- 501st MI Brigade, ROK
- Intelligence officer:
- G2, 3rd Armored Division, FRG
- SOTF, FBNC
- J2, USSOCOM MacDill AFB, FL
- Operation UPHOLD DEMOCRACY (Haiti): 1994
- Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: 2003
- Operation IRAQI FREEDOM: 2007
- Operation ENDURING FREEDOM: 2011
- Contingency: Bosnia (2005); Kosovo (2005)
Advocacy on Behalf of Veterans:
- National advocate for Veterans Treatment Court (VTC). Briefed VTC program and advocated for federal legislation passage (HR886 VTC bill) before White House Staffers, and Congress, June 2019. VTC Bill subsequently signed by POTUS Trump August 2020.
- Tampa’s Veterans Treatment Court (VTC). Helped establish the program in October 2013. Currently one of the largest VTC dockets and volunteer mentor programs in the Nation of over 500 VTCs.
- Presented VTC overview, and/or provided mentor training (per invitation) to various conferences to include Florida Bar Annual Convention (2017); Tennessee (10th Judicial District) VTC Conference (2018); Kansas Annual Judiciary Conference (2019); FL Regional VTC Training Conference (2019); Regional US Training Conference on VTCs (2020).
- Member, US Congressman Bilirakis’ Veterans Advisory Committee. Provide support and input to all veteran issues, to include
- VTC/criminal justice, VA services, and health (burn pits, opioid and alcohol/substance abuse)
- Member, Joint Congressional Veterans Advisory Committee (Reps Bilirakis and Crist).
- Member, Florida Veterans Council (2019 – present)
- Member, Florida Department of Veterans Affairs “Forward March” Legal Subcommittee (2019 – present)
- President/Founder Cuspis Vir LLC 2013 – 2020 (supporting military family members of special needs children. Worked with base EFMP program coordinator, area families, and companies providing support services to military families. Note: our son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 2 which got us involved in this area)
Civic Activities / Contributions:
- Post military retirement, Colonel Reyes, better known to all as “DJ” helped established the nationally acclaimed Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) in 2013 which assists veterans in trouble with the law due to a disorder or condition incurred during military service.
- DJ is a national veteran advocate who has briefed in the White House and on Capitol Hill, who assisted in the passage of HR886 – the VTC Coordination Act of 2019 (national funding for all VTCs), and who sits on various national, US Congressional, and State advisory boards.
- In 2020, DJ received the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) Community Hero Award, the Lieutenant General James Peake Award for Community Service to Veterans in the Judicial system, and the University of Notre Dame’s Reverend William Corby Award for Distinguished Military and Community Service.
- In 2018, WFLA (NBC) recognized DJ as Tampa’s “GR8 Inspiration” for his life saving work in the VTC. In 2016, DJ was awarded with the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s highest award – the Liberty Bell Award – for his exemplary efforts in promoting, and advocating for, the legal judicial system and process as it supports the local veterans and special needs communities.
- DJ supports the Heart Dance Foundation and is an advocate in combatting human trafficking in the Tampa Bay region. He is a Tampa Mayoral appointed member on Tampa’s Citizens Review Board which oversees Tampa Police and community interaction and issues.
- DJ and his wife, Julie, are community advocates on various social issues and are active members with various military bases and organizations (MacDill AFB, VFW, American Legion, Marine Corps League, local National Guard and Reserve units), and local business, civic and non-profit organizations (e.g., Tampa Business Chamber of Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes Foundation, United Way’s Mission United, etc.).
Awards and Honors:
- Defense Superior Service Medal
- Legion of Merit (2 Awards)
- Legion of Merit (2 Awards)
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/Campaign Star
- Bronze Star Medal (3 Awards)
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Meritorious Service Medal (9 Awards)
- Army Commendation Medal
- Joint Service Achievement Medal (2 Awards)
- Army Achievement Medal (3 Awards)
- Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2 Awards)
- Meritorious Unit Commendation
- Army Superior Unit Award
- National Defense Service Medal (2 Awards)
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Korean Defense Service Medal
- Humanitarian Service Medal
- Iraq Campaign Medal w/Campaign Star
- Army Service Ribbon
- Overseas Service Ribbon (4 Awards)
- NATO Medal
- Ranger Tab
- Master Parachutist Badge
- Air Assault Badge
- Canadian Parachutist Badge
- 6Z Defense Strategist
- Tampa Bay Journal “Veteran Heroes at Work” Awardee (2014)
- Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Raymond Fernandez Award for Community Service (2016)
- Hillsborough County Bar Association’s “Liberty Bell Award” for Promoting Veterans in the Criminal Justice System (2016)
- WFLA-NBC (8) “Great Inspiration” Awardee for Community Advocacy of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System (2019)
- Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) “Community Hero Award” and recipient of $50K for community service and advocacy of local area veterans’ programs
- Bay Area Legal Services “Lieutenant General James Peake Award” for outstanding community, state and national level service and advocacy of veterans’ rights (2020)
- University of Notre Dame Alumni Association’s “Reverend William Corby Award” for distinguished military and community service by a Notre Dame Alum
DJ Reyes is by far the most incredible Veterans’ Advocate in the entire State of Florida. I personally watched his impact from my vantage point in Tallahassee. He is effective and far- reaching in all that he does. He not only has made substantial change in countless Veterans’ lives in Florida, but he has affected Veterans throughout this entire nation. As an example of his powerful leadership the following is testimony to his impact. DJ Reyes knew nothing but the military. He earned a law degree and a master’s in national strategy and policy at the Naval War College. He went on to provide direct intelligence support to senior officials and combat commanders in global hot spots around the world, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, Iraq, and Kosovo.
When Reyes retired after 33 years in the Army, he took a federal job. One day, he became inspired after watching a television program on a Veterans Treatment Court in Harris County, Texas, which provided early intervention and treatment for veterans who had mental health and substance issues, often as a direct result of their service.
In September 2013, Reyes met with Hon. Richard Weis about a plan to create a Veterans Treatment Court in the 13th Judicial Circuit in Tampa. There was no budget, no staff, and no
veteran mentors to help start the program, but that didn’t deter Reyes. The program started a month later with six veterans and one mentor.
Six years later, the Veterans Treatment Court in Tampa peaked to nearly 250 veterans and more than 140 mentors, who fill the gap in many program requirements while also providing support, advocacy, and training. The Tampa program has served as a national model. “Most of these veterans have served honorably. We try to offer treatment and rehabilitation because it’s a good thing to do,” Reyes said.
In 2019, Reyes traveled to Washington, D.C., to champion for federal legislation supporting veterans’ courts nationwide — and it became law in August 2020. The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act by U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida directs the Department of Justice to provide grants and assistance to state, local, and tribal governments to create and maintain veterans’ treatment courts. DJ’s response to the effectiveness of his actions were, “There is no other court like this, “This court saves lives. We are making veterans whole again.”
During his 33-year military career, DJ provided direct intelligence support to senior US government officials and US/multi-national/SOF Commanders in global hot spots to include Iraq/Middle East, Afghanistan, North Africa, Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea and Haiti. He has commanded units at the Detachment, Company, Battalion, Brigade and Joint Site levels. Among his combat zone assignments, DJ served as the Senior Division Intelligence Officer (G2), 101st Airborne Division, for General David Petraeus, as part of the initial multi-national invasion force for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) in 2003 and captured in Pulitzer Prize recipient/war correspondent Rick Atkinson’s book “In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat.”
Upon military retirement in 2013, DJ served as Operations Officer, National Security Agency Field Office support to US Special Operations Command HQ, MacDill AFB. To further leverage his leadership experiences and impact positive change at the local through national levels for the veteran and military communities, he and his wife founded Cuspis Vir Consulting LLC – this company provides subject matter expertise to companies in and outside of FL regarding how best to support EFMP military families/special needs in the areas of healthcare and financial wellness. From 2016 – 2019, he served as the Gulf Coast FL Veterans Employment Coordinator (DoD contract directly supporting the FL Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve). He interfaced with over 1,000 companies (in a 11-county region) seeking to hire veterans.
But it is in the area of community service that established the cornerstone of his impact to the veteran and military communities at every level. Most notable is his key contribution in establishing the Veterans Treatment Court in Tampa – currently the largest of over 500 courts in the USA. Over 90% of veterans in trouble with the law and with a diagnosed disability or condition as a result of military service get the necessary medical treatment and community support and successfully graduate from the program. Tampa’s Court also saves millions of annual local taxpayers’ dollars because the veterans are kept out of jail and reintegrated back into the communities via schooling, employment, and community service initiatives.
DJ also serves on the National Veterans Court Alliance, three US (FL) Congressmen veterans committees, the FL Department of VA Legal Subcommittee, and the FL Veterans Council. In June 2019, DJ briefed Tampa’s Veterans Court program in both the White House and on Capitol Hill as he championed for federal legislation supporting Veteran Courts nationwide (POTUS signed HR886 into law on 7 August 2020).
He is a nationally recognized advocate on many veteran related issues, and he is directly involved in shaping legislation at both the state (FL Legislature) and federal (US Congress) levels regarding the Veterans Treatment Court, the “Burn Pits” health dilemma, and veteran suicide prevention and awareness. There is nothing that this Veteran’s Veteran can’t do. He is laser-focused on building the lives of those who have served but more he is consistently hitting 150% in gaining benefits for Veterans and educating them how to obtain the necessary tools to make them whole, productive citizens.
DJ has received multiple community awards. Four of the more notable are: a) WFLA NBC Channel 8 “Great Inspirations” of 2017 for his work in the Veterans Treatment Court; b) the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s highest Citizen Award – the Liberty Bell Award (2016) – presented to the Citizen making the most positive impact to the criminal justice process; c) the 2020 Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) “Community Hero” Award – a $50K award presented to the individual making the most impact to the local community; d) and the 2020 LTG James Peake Award for Outstanding Community Service to the Tampa Bay area veteran community.
In May 2020, DJ was notified of his selection for the 2020 University of Notre Dame’s Reverend William Corby Award. This award is presented to a Notre Dame alumnus who demonstrated a career of distinguished military and community service to this Nation.
Nationally, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) recognized DJ in its inaugural “Change Makers” December 2020 edition, for his advocacy at the local through federal levels in the Veterans Treatment Court.
Since 2013, DJ has “improved his foxhole” with wife Julie and their triplets – Alexis, Christian and Samantha – in South Tampa. DJ continues to give back to his community with his 2020 Tampa Mayoral appointment to the Tampa Bay Citizens Review Board, formed to enhance trust between the Tampa Police Department and the community it serves by creating an unbiased panel of citizens to review completed disciplinary cases and issues of importance or interest to the community and the Police Department. He also supports local organizations in the fight against human trafficking activities and has advocated to establish a “Human Trafficking Treatment Court” patterned after the successful and nationally renowned Tampa Veterans Treatment Court model program.
Every action by this Warrior, which are countless, improves someone’s life and in many cases, it affects many in positive ways. DJ functions in all of his programs the same way that he operated in the military arena. He finds the barrier that keeps Veterans down and then postures his resources to bring victory for those Veterans in need.
I can’t think of anyone who has done more for Florida Veterans and the nation. It’s hard to imagine where he finds the time to impact the many lives and the many diverse programs. As the Past President of the Florida Veterans Foundation, I had the honor and pleasure to watch the entire state and the Congressionally mandated Veteran Service Organizations and non-profits and what they do for Veterans. I remain in awe of this leader among leaders that can connect with other organizations and apply his talents and enthusiasm to bring about extraordinary results. It was fun to challenge our organization to bring other agencies together with Colonel Reyes and see how we could effectively team issues to resolution.
When the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs and the Florida Veterans Foundation began developing Governor DeSantis’ Forward March program, we had DJ in mind to bring his best practices and analytical mind to the table with others throughout the state for Veterans’ Treatment Court and Mental Health to see how we could solve unmet needs. I would follow this leader anywhere because his destination would of course be successful in serving the needs of our Florida Veterans.
Colonel Reyes is the epitome of Veterans’ Advocate. He says what he’s going to do, and it is done with professionalism and with the compassion to effectively gain the confidence of the Veterans. He is unlike anyone that I have ever known to do all he does without personal financial gain. His reward is that which in his heart when he sees someone who is struggling and then stands on their own through DJ’s nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic.
It’s not every day that you find a treasure this precious. He exudes an air of magnificence and exceptional cooperative spirit wherever he is. So, he is brilliant in Veteran-speak and earns the trust of his followers. Then he proceeds at lightning speed to provide definitive and measurable results. Again, there has not been a finer candidate for your consideration. Colonel DJ Reyes has my strongest personal recommendation for induction into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. Out of the last six nominees that I have recommended and that have been inducted, Colonel Reyes’ will stand tall in those ranks and serve as an impeccable ambassador for the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. He should be #1 on your list in every category.