'You should think four or five steps ahead'
February 23, 2009
- Army service a Family tradition
- Talking in front of people was hard
- Young, new single moms in the Army can still make it
HUMPHREYS GARRISON - "Be all you can be in the Army." It's one of many U.S. Army Recruiting Command campaign messages that have caught the attention of the American television viewing audience for decades.
For thousands of American Families, it's been the calling of generations to serve. Planning ahead is something Staff Sgt. Lakisha Session, an ammunition specialist with the 52nd Ordinance Company, got an early start at in what has been a way of life for her Family for generations.
"I was in Junior ROTC in high school, and would wear the green uniform once a week and my dad and my uncle always told me I would be a great Soldier," said Session. "There is a heavy military population in the area of Virginia that I am from, and joining the Army after high school just felt right to me."
That was eight years ago, and Session has taken on every challenge the Army has given her to maximize her potentials. But one obstacle Session faced early in her career is as an aspect the Army is famous for bringing out the best in its Soldiers.
"It wasn't the physical, tactical, or technical parts of my Army training that worried me during my early years in the Army," she said. "For me, it was learning how to get up and stand and talk in front of people. If you told Soldiers that know me today that I had a tough time getting up and talking in front of people, they wouldn't believe it."
Session said she used to be a person in the back of the crowd that didn't say anything, but when she became a Noncommissioned Officer, there was no way she could be like that anymore.
"You have got to be out there in the action, and be able to tell your Soldiers what they're doing," she said. Session got her chance early in her Army career to overcome her fear of speaking in front of groups of people at a place and time provided daily as part of the Army's regular duty day.
"My platoon sergeant would put me in front of the platoon every day, early in the morning during physical training to help me get over my speaking issue, and it took me about a month to work it out," she said. Session says her biggest challenge while serving in the NCO ranks is adjusting to the routines of each new duty location and environment.
"I came here from Fort Hood, and the operational tempo is different here and I've had to make some adjustments to make sure I was in pace with the mission at USAG-Humphreys," she said. "The tempo is fast here and we're always on the move and as an NCO, you should think four or five steps ahead."
Through her Family, Session had the support and encouragement to inspire her to enlist in the Army. Now approaching the end of her first decade of Army service, there are days when Session - like many Soldiers - still have a tough time waking up after long mission hours the night before. But Session has a remedy for the tough times, not back home in Virginia, but right here in Korea.
"There are times when I don't know how I'll get up in the morning, but when my son looks at me, and says 'you're the greatest, mom - you're in the Army,' I believe anything is possible, and it's important for other single-mothers like me who may be new to the Army to not be afraid of the challenges we face as Soldiers because we train through the adjustment periods and achieve our potentials in time."