FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. Aca,!" Her favorite childhood pastime wasn\'t playing with the typical Barbie dolls or playing girlie dress up. Instead, she set her sights on G.I. Joe, camouflage and gun-fighting games. From an early age she dreamed of being a Soldier, and now, after overcoming hurdles in her life, she has not only fought the challenges, but has also proven herself as a worthy leader.

An information technology specialist, Staff Sgt. Rosy Cueva, Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army), will soon be leaving her job in the unit's G-3 training division and going back to the U.S. Army Signal School where she attended Advanced Individual Training-but this time, she will be there not to learn a new job-but to lead the next generation of signal Soldiers as a platoon sergeant for AIT students.

Fighting to get what she wants is not new for Cueva. Born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Cueva remembers the challenges growing up and the early-on life lessons she faced to get where she is today.

"Growing up was hard for my mother and me," Cueva explained. "I am an only child who was raised by a single mom. At times, my mother had to work two jobs-one to pay for college, and the other one to raise me. There were a few years that I lived with my grandmother and different aunts due to the fact that my mother was still in school and couldn't take care of me. So you can say that I was blessed to have many 'moms' guiding me and instilling in me different values and principles. The most challenging phase that I went through was when I finally moved in to live with my mother full time. It was somewhat difficult because I wasn't used to her; we managed to bond and up to this day we are closer then ever before."

Not long after she and her mother reunited, the now-31-year-old noncommissioned officer found herself in a conundrum when she was in her late teens and tried to join the Army.

"I decided to join at the age of 18, but due to the fact that I had severe hearing loss in my right ear, I was not accepted," she said. "After six painful ear surgeries I was able to retake my hearing exam with the Army and I passed it. This happened six years later, and I enlisted at the age of 24. "I wanted to be an enlisted Soldier for many reasons, but my main reason was because I knew sometime in my Army career I was going to become an NCO and I wanted to train and lead Soldiers. I wanted to make a difference in each of my Soldier's lives."

And according to Master Sgt. Cynthia Provost, Cueva's former supervisor, she indeed had an impact.

"I first met Staff Sergeant Cueva in Hawaii back in 2005 when she was Specialist Cantu," Provost recalled. "My first impression of her then was I thought she was a cocky little thing but full of enthusiasm and professionalism. At the time I was the new brigade communications chief and she was one of my automators just returning from Afghanistan along with the rest of the unit. Upon the unit's return from Afghanistan, of course our [operational tempo] was fast-paced.

"We were in the middle of a major transition of the brigade headquarters between buildings and reestablishing network services for all of the brigade's users. Specialist Cantu never shied away from a job. Nothing was ever too big for her to handle and she always made time to assist any user, regardless of the many missions on her plate. She is meticulous and thorough. It is because of this and her drive to continue to improve her craft that the brigade's missions did not fail. She worked tirelessly to ensure that we were always set up for success."

At only 4 feet 11 inches tall, Cueva has continued to work hard since her assignment with Provost and recalls the influence the senior NCO had on her.

"Master Sergeant Provost has been the NCO I still look up to for anything," said Cueva. "She took me under her wing, coached and mentored me. She cross trained me and showed me how a commo shop needed to be ran. She also would give me tasks that she knew I didn't know how to do and would expect for me to accomplish them. All she would say is, 'Research-the answer is not always on the surface, you have to dig deep.' She saw potential in me and gave me the opportunity to become an NCO at an early stage by putting me in for my corporal stripes. Through her motivation and guidance I have become the NCO that I am today."

Cueva feels there are many things she can teach the young signal Soldiers and looks forward to her latest challenge of being an AIT platoon sergeant in the coming months.

"We need to always give 110 percent if we really want to succeed. Don't be a follower but a leader. Project your voice and don't be scared; there is no such thing as a dumb question or answer. Nobody is perfect and we all learn from our mistakes and experiences."

"Cueva is one of those Soldiers that will always leave a remarkable impression on any individual she works with," said Provost. "She is an incredibly hard worker, a constant professional and has an enthusiasm that is contagious to anyone around her. I have always seen tremendous potential in Staff Sergeant Cueva and believed then and now that she would make an excellent NCO. I had the pleasure to see Specialist Cantu become what I believe to be an outstanding staff sergeant, and I believe that she will continue to flourish and achieve great things. My best advice for any Soldier that might have the honor of working with her is to try to keep up with her. She is an incredible talent. She's always willing not just to complete the mission but to teach anyone around her that wants to learn."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16