It's all a learning experience, one Soldier's career path
September 18, 2010
DIYALA, Iraq - As the second youngest Soldier in Headquarters and Headquarters Operations Company, Division Special Troops Battalion, Pfc. Nanalee Litzsinger has held more full time jobs than most young people her age.
Pfc. Litzsinger is one of the intelligence analysts for Command Post-South at Forward Operating Base Warhorse in Diyala province, Iraq. Her team's mission at FOB Warhorse is to help Brig Gen. Donahue, the Deputy Commanding General of Maneuver for Task Force Marne maintain awareness of insurgent activities in the area. Pfc. Litzsinger's job at CP South is to read historical data that is collected in the province. Her analysis of the data helps her team make an assessment about possible insurgent activities that may occur in Diyala province.
Pfc. Litzsinger has accomplished a lot in her 19 years. She graduated from high school when she was 16 years old. Her rationale to graduate early was simply that she could.
"It was kind of easy for me to graduate early," said Pfc. Litzsinger. "I got into the online thing where I realized that I could actually get through school a lot faster if I just took the courses online."
As soon as she received her diploma, Pfc. Litzsinger decided she didn't want to be a barista at Starbucks anymore. She realized online courses were the key to quickly getting her into the workforce so she turned to Job Corps. Job Corps is the Web site for the U.S. Department of Labor, it offers vocational online training and helps young people find jobs. Pfc. Litzsinger took courses in business technologies, these included learning basic computer programs, taxes and other office skills. Through the programs at Job Corps she got her first job working at a law firm that specialized in real estate.
"The biggest problem was that I was young so it was really hard for me to find a job," said Pfc. Litzsinger. "Once I got a job it wasn't that big of a deal because I had to dress professionally ... so it kind of made me look older. People really just thought I was in my early twenties."
Pfc. Litzsinger was still 16 when she got her second job as a billing representative for a physical therapy company. As a billing representative she quickly learned the ropes and found herself in charge of training all new employees on the software the company used to track their patients. After that, she became a sales person for an advertising company in Florida.
At the age of 17, after working for Starbucks, a law firm, a physical therapy company and an advertising company, Pfc. Litzsinger set her sights on the Army.
"Both of my dads were in the military, and I'd always wanted to be in the military growing up," said Pfc. Litzsinger. "It was hard for me to find a job even though I had the education so I decided to search around to see what the military could offer me. It was between the Coastguard and the Army, obviously I chose the Army."
Pfc. Litzsinger wants to be a teacher. Sometimes she thinks that she wants to stay in the Army and teach Soldiers attending Advanced Individual Training. She could also see herself teaching high school English or music to elementary school children. Regardless of what she decides, her experience in the Army has had its academic benefits.
"I don't regret anything in my life, it's all a learning experience," said Pfc. Litzsinger. "With the Army I've gotten used to talking in front of people and it's also really helped me improve my writing. Whether I stick with the Army or go to the civilian side those skills will be invaluable for my career."