Miss Carolina
Daniel Garrett, Fort Jackson Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, says he is proud of his daughter, Crystal Alicia Garrett, who will be competing in the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas Saturday on TLC.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. (Army News Service, Jan. 24, 2008) -- There will be one Miss America viewer this weekend who's hoping that victory started at Fort Jackson.

Crystal Alicia Garrett, who was raised on the installation and whose father works on post, will represent South Carolina in the 2008 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas. The pageant will be aired at 8 p.m. Saturday on TLC.

Crystal's father is Daniel Garrett, an employee with Fort Jackson's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office and a retired Soldier.

"This is an opportunity of a lifetime for Crystal, which makes our family extremely proud," he said. "She entered her first pageant in high school and has been at it ever since."

Despite his unconditional support for Crystal, one of three daughters, Garrett said he was a bit skeptical when she first announced her dreams to be a beauty pageant contestant.

"One of the first questions I asked her is, 'Don't you have to have a talent''" he said. "She said, 'Yes, singing.'

"Well, I had never heard her sing before other than coming from the shower or when we had to tell the kids to quiet down," Garrett said. "But she sang for us right there. We knew there was something there."

Although Crystal has suffered from asthma since she was 3 years old, Garrett said you cannot tell from the sound of her powerful singing voice.

Crystal, 21, who attended Fort Jackson's Hood Street Elementary School, Ridge View High School in Columbia and the University of South Carolina, was born at Fort Bragg, N.C., and moved to Fort Jackson when her father was assigned to the Drill Sergeant School.

Her platform for this week's pageant is P.E.A.K.: Preparing Empowered Asthmatic Kids. Crystal received the 2003 and 2006 President's Community Service Award from President Bush and won the Columbia Urban League's 2004 Talented Youth Award. She is also the 2006 WACH Fox 57's Palmetto Idol.

The beauty contestant's future ambitions, besides being crowned Miss America on Saturday night, is to obtain a master's degree in vocal performance from the Julliard School of Music and become a professional vocal artist and performer.

Garrett, who retired from the Army eight years ago, has worked at PAIO for two years. In addition to being an instructor at the Drill Sergeant School, he also was a first sergeant at Fort Jackson's Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

Crystal has also proven to be an inspiration and mentor to her sister Danielle, 16.

"My youngest daughter is following in Crystal's footsteps and entering pageants," Garrett said. "Crystal is being a positive role model for her younger sister. What more could a father ask for'"

(Chris Rasmussen writes for the Leader newspaper at Fort Jackson, S.C.)

<i>Editor's note: Another member of the Army Family, Sgt. Jill Stevens, a medic with the Utah National Guard, will also be competing in the Miss America pageant Saturday representing Utah. See her on-line journal about the competition at <a href="http://www.arny.mil/GIJill"target=_blank> www.arny.mil/GIJill</a>.</i>

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