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Meet Your Military: Army Sergeant Major Pursues Her Dreams

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Florida: Army Sgt. Maj. Kristie Brady said she knew from a young age that she wanted to serve in the military like her father had.

support our troops us army sgt airborne jumpU.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Kristie Brady prepares for an airborne jump with the Joint Communications Support Element, an airborne communications unit headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Brady, who serves as a jumpmaster within JCSE, was recently selected as the first female command sergeant major of another airborne communications unit -- the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C. Joint Communications Support Element photo by Rick MaupinBrady was raised in Ethan, South Dakota, a farming town with a population of 300. “I wanted to be a part of something larger than myself,” Brady said. “I wanted to travel and gain experiences that would not be possible in my hometown.” Brady found that life-changing opportunity in 1992, when she entered the Army’s Delayed Entry Program at age 17. Since then, Brady has continued to broaden her horizons and exceed expectations as an information technology specialist and an airborne-qualified jumpmaster. Her commitment and dedication to service have led to an historical event, as she was recently chosen as the next command sergeant major of the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion (Airborne) based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Brady will be the first female in the elite organization’s history to serve in this position. “The 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion is an extremely prestigious unit with a great reputation across the Army,” Brady said. “It is an incredible opportunity to serve in the 112th Signal Battalion and to do so as their command sergeant major is an extreme honor.”

Information Technology Career Field Brady had the foresight when joining the Army to realize that the information technology career field would be an important specialty both within the Army and in the civilian world. “At the time I enlisted, computers and information technology were fairly new,” Brady said. “I wanted to do something that would translate into good job prospects while serving and also following my military service.”

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Meet Your Military: Soldier Gets Women's Softball Team Trial

support our troops us army 1st lt throws softballArmy 1st Lt. Courtney Clausi, who hails from Ashland, Va., and is the assistant personnel officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, throws a softball on an athletic field on Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, July 21, 2015. Clausi was warming up her arm for practice. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jesse Smith CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea: It was getting dark as misty clouds rolled across the athletic field. The AstroTurf was soft, stiff underfoot and the smell of leather gloves was distinct. A female soldier stepped onto the field. A blurred sphere zipped through the air, and then a loud smack could be heard as the soldier caught the softball with her glove.

The soldier, Army 1st Lt. Courtney Clausi, who hails from Ashland, Virginia, and is the assistant personnel officer for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade here, isn’t a typical softball player. She has been selected to compete at a trial to be a part of the All-Army Women’s Softball Team. Clausi said she grew up in a military family. She began playing baseball around 20 years ago and fell in love with the sport.

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Meet Your Military: Soldier Earns Olympic Berth at Pan American Games

support our troops us army world class athlete program tabooArmy Spc. Nathan Schrimsher of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program rides a horse named Taboo, en route to earning a berth for the 2016 Olympic Games with a third-place finish in men's Modern Pentathlon at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, July 19, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Tim HippsTORONTO: Army Spc. Nathan Schrimsher earned an automatic berth into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with a third-place finish July 19 in men's Modern Pentathlon at the 2015 Pan American Games here.

Schrimsher, 23, a soldier in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, from Roswell, New Mexico, took the bronze medal in the five-sports-in-one-day event with 1,421 points. "I'm ecstatic," Schrimsher said. "Yes, sir, it's awesome." WCAP Sgt. Dennis Bowsher, 32, a 2012 Olympian from Dallas, finished 10th with 1,348 points in the event, which includes fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping and combines cross-country running and laser pistol shooting -- all in one day. "I think my day was OK," Bowsher said. "I'm definitely feeling my age. The whole goal today was for one of us to get an Olympic quota spot, so mission accomplished." Charles Fernandez of Guatemala won the gold with 1,444 points, followed by silver medalist Ismael Hernandez Uscanga of Mexico with 1,439 points. Fourth- and fifth-place finishers Jose Figueroa (1,415) of Cuba and Emmanuel Zapata (1,413) of Argentina also punched tickets to Rio de Janeiro by virtue of by-name Olympic berths awarded to the top five.

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Meet Your Military: Ranger Saves Drowning Child

FORT BENNING, Georgia: On the afternoon of July 11, Army Rangers Spc. Luke Smith, Sgt. Khali Pegues, and Sgt. Brian Miller were cleaning up after hosting a barbecue with members of the 75th Ranger Regiment at a community pool area here when they heard cries for help.

support our troops us army spc saves drowning childArmy Spc. Luke Smith, 75th Ranger Regiment, saved the life of a drowning child, July 11, 2015, at Fort Benning, Georgia. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michael R. NoggleA child about 6 years old had fallen into the pool and drowned. "We heard a woman scream and some commotion from another party," Pegues, Smith’s supervisor, said. "I grabbed Smith to head over there, because I knew he had extensive training in CPR and [lifesaving] techniques." Smith, a native of North East, Maryland, was a Boy Scout before he enlisted in the Army in 2011. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout as well as earning the Life-Saving Merit Badge and had extensive training in performing CPR.

Operating on Instinct "We got over there and then I went into a tunnel vision," Smith said. "As soon as I saw the child, I immediately asked everyone around if anyone was a current lifeguard or medical provider. No one responded." Smith and Miller assessed that the child was unconscious and had no pulse. In addition, the child’s abdomen was swollen and her lips were blue, Smith said. The soldiers immediately started CPR. As Smith began chest compressions, he called for the child’s father to begin rescue breathing. He instructed the father to do half-breaths, so the child’s lungs would not overexpand. After the second cycle of CPR, Smith said he began to fear the worst. "As I was giving her chest compressions, I was staring her in the face and praying," said Smith. "Please God, let me save this little girl."

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Meet Your Military: Civil Engineer Airman Builds Toward Dream

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Air Force Senior Airman Carl Vanlandingham, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, always knew he wanted to be a carpenter and welder.support our troops us airforce senior airman works on days offU.S. Air Force Senior Airman Carl Vanlandingham, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron structural journeyman, works on a project at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, July 16, 2015. Vanlandingham builds various projects during duty and on his days off to support the mission. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cierra Presentado He said he was only 12 when he built his first project. He noticed he had a talent for working with his hands, he said, so he proceeded to experiment and build things throughout his young life. Ultimately, he decided to follow a three-generation family tradition and join the Air Force. As a civil engineer airman, he said he knew he would be able to deploy and make a difference doing what he loved.

Dream Job "I made the decision at a young age that this is what I wanted to do," Vanlandingham said. "From building a dog house to now building projects for the Air Force, I’m living my dream." Since being deployed here, Vanlandingham has worked on numerous projects, including building platforms for air conditioning units and a stand for the air traffic control tower. "We get many work orders to build things around the base," he said. "I always jump at the chance to build something new. It’s always exciting to see what the next project is going to be." During free time and days off, many airmen prefer to catch up on sleep or relax. Vanlandingham said he prefers to use his free time go to work and build things from scratch. "When I have down time, I really enjoy going to my shop and working on projects. It’s really relaxing to just build stuff with my hands," he said. "That’s what I like to do."

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