Face of Defense: Soldier Follows Family Legacy

INDIANAPOLIS — Army Pfc. Alyssia Brown com­plet­ed basic com­bat train­ing when she was a junior at Hunt­ing­ton North High School in north­east­ern Indi­ana. And though she enlist­ed before she could legal­ly buy a pack of cig­a­rettes, she grad­u­at­ed Oct. 21 at the top of her class from the Mil­i­tary Police Offi­cer Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

Indiana National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Command
Army Com­mand Sgt. Maj. Jon Smith of the Indi­ana Nation­al Guard’s Recruit­ing and Reten­tion Com­mand presents Army Pfc. Alyssia Brown with a Min­ute­man stat­ue in Indi­anapo­lis, Nov. 22, 2010.
U.S. Army pho­to by Sgt. John Cros­by
Click to enlarge

Brown received com­men­da­tions from the post com­man­der of Fort Leonard Wood, U.S. Army Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion Com­mand rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the pres­i­dent of mil­i­tary police for her out­stand­ing lead­er­ship abil­i­ty, dis­ci­pline and per­for­mance while under her train­ing environment’s com­mand. She said she draws her moti­va­tion from her moth­er.

“My mom has been through a lot and always per­se­veres,” Brown said. “She got good grades and ran track in high school. I try to be like her. She always push­es me to do my best.” Brown said she joined the mil­i­tary to fol­low in the foot­steps of her broth­er and uncle, both Oper­a­tion Iraqi Free­dom vet­er­ans, and her grand­fa­ther. Her father is a reserve police offi­cer for Hunt­ing­ton Coun­ty, Ind.

She want­ed to enlist from a young age, she said, and she joined the Indi­ana Army Nation­al Guard on Feb. 13, 2009, at age 17. She chose the Army’s Split Option pro­gram, com­plet­ing basic train­ing dur­ing the sum­mer break between her junior and senior years of high school, and attend­ing MP school after she grad­u­at­ed. “I always knew I want­ed to join,” Brown said. “I think every­body should serve their coun­try in some way.”

As a Split Option sol­dier, Brown served in the Recruit Sus­tain­ment Pro­gram in Fort Wayne, Ind. The program’s cadre teach­es recruits the sol­dier skills that pre­pare them for basic train­ing. Those return­ing from basic train­ing then can teach new recruits what it’s real­ly like. “There wasn’t a thing that was intro­duced in basic [train­ing] that wasn’t already touched upon in RSP, so it made me feel like I wasn’t com­plete­ly thrown out of the water,” Brown said.

At the recruit pro­gram, sol­diers are taught the mil­i­tary rank struc­ture, mil­i­tary cour­te­sies and cul­ture, drill and cer­e­mo­ny, weapons sys­tems and oth­er infor­ma­tion. “It was a lot eas­i­er to have learned all those things I need­ed to know before­hand, as opposed to learn­ing every­thing right when I got [to basic train­ing],” she said. While at MP school, Brown was rec­og­nized for her out­stand­ing lead­er­ship skills for tak­ing charge dur­ing a detail at the 2010 MP Warfight­er Com­pe­ti­tion at Fort Leonard Wood. She was tasked with set­ting up tents for the com­pe­ti­tion. A group of peo­ple dressed in civil­ian attire asked for assis­tance in set­ting up a tent for their orga­ni­za­tion. Although she didn’t have to, Brown helped them. She quick­ly took charge, giv­ing them guid­ance and expe­dit­ing the process so she could return to her detail.

As it turned out, the peo­ple she helped were high-rank­ing offi­cials of the Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion Com­mand, and sev­er­al weeks lat­er she was rec­og­nized in front of her com­pa­ny for her efforts. Brown also was rec­og­nized as the dis­tin­guished hon­or grad­u­ate for her unwa­ver­ing moti­va­tion, out­stand­ing phys­i­cal train­ing scores and excel­lent rifle marks­man­ship. “I’m real­ly glad to be hon­ored like that, espe­cial­ly in front of my fam­i­ly on grad­u­a­tion,” said Brown, whose moth­er record­ed the cer­e­mo­ny. “They were all real­ly proud of me. I’m just glad that I was able to work hard enough to get to be able to go up on stage and have my name called off. If even to be rec­og­nized just for a frac­tion of a sec­ond, it was tru­ly an hon­or.”

Now that she has grad­u­at­ed, Brown will return to her roots at the RSP for one last drill before mov­ing onto her per­ma­nent unit. “It has been a great plea­sure hav­ing her as a RSP sol­dier; she real­ly sets the stan­dard as to what we want all of our sol­diers to be like,” said Army Staff Sgt. David Grimm, train­ing sergeant for the recruit program’s Detach­ment 2 in Fort Wayne, Ind. “When I first met her, she was very respect­ful and eager to learn and grow as a sol­dier. She always has a great atti­tude and demeanor, and that ‘nev­er-say-quit’ atti­tude always rubbed off on oth­ers.”

Grimm added that he believes the lead­er­ship qual­i­ties Brown has dis­played and her expe­ri­ence to become an MP will car­ry on when she returns to the RSP. “She has a great rela­tion­ship with her fel­low sol­diers,” he said. “She goes out of her way to help oth­ers with any­thing they may be doing at the time. She takes pride in being a bat­tle bud­dy and a friend, and she shows all of the lead­er­ship qual­i­ties a young sol­dier could pos­sess.”

Brown’s fam­i­ly has embraced her role as a sol­dier and takes pride in her achieve­ments. “I couldn’t be more proud of her,” said Jeff Brown, the soldier’s father. “I’ve always encour­aged her and her broth­er to join. I couldn’t be more proud of them both. “I think there might be a bit of a rival­ry grow­ing between her and her broth­er now,” he con­tin­ued. “He didn’t take home all those plaques and medals that she did.” His daughter’s enlist­ment has strength­ened their bond, he said, and has giv­en them some­thing else in com­mon: law enforce­ment.

“Alyssia and I will sit and talk about law, what she can and can’t do as a sol­dier, what I can and can’t do as a civil­ian,” he said. “She’s real­ly grown into it.” Brown said she plans to main­tain her pro­fes­sion­al­ism and always remem­ber the promise she made to her coun­try, her moth­er and to her­self. “It’s been a life-chang­ing expe­ri­ence for me,” she said. “There’s a respon­si­bil­i­ty that you put on your­self that you can’t put on any­body else that push­es you to your lim­its and shows you that you can still suc­ceed.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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