Why I serve: Hammer troop commander makes history
May 20, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas- For the first time in history the Headquarters and Headquarters "Hammer" Troop, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is being led by a woman.
Capt. Olivia Nunn, a Puyallup, Wash., native, took over as troop commander shortly after returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08. She brings with her a unique perspective.
Prior to becoming troop commander, Nunn was a staff officer in the operations shop as well as the brigade chemical officer. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, she also was a battle captain.
"Being a troop commander has a different focus," said Nunn. "My focus now is the day to day operations. Making sure we have the necessary supplies and equipment to execute the commander's intent."
Being the new troop commander allows Nunn to interact more with her Soldiers. She participates daily in physical training with her troops. On Fridays, she has an end of the week briefing that Soldiers attend before the start of the weekend. She uses this time to inform the soldiers of unhealthy and often dangerous behaviors.
"I enjoy being more involved with the Soldiers," said Nunn. "I get to know the Soldier's and the different staff sections. The Soldiers will do anything you ask them, if they know you will look after them."
With new duties and new tasks, she has a different set of goals for the troop.
The challenges she faces include, planning training events, how to coordinate the day to day operations, and meet all the requirements before the next deployment.
"I'm looking forward to meeting the goals for the troop and facing whatever task are appointed to us," said Nunn. "I will face the challenges with the support of my command team."
Her command team is headed by Pilot Mountain, N.C. native, 1st Lt. James Anderson, HHT's executive officer, and 1st Sgt. Damon Perez, the unit's top noncommissioned officer, who hails from San Jose, Calif. Her high regard for them is evident as she speaks of their personalities.
"I'm truly blessed to have a great command team," said Nunn. "We get along and there are definitely balances to our personalities that allow us to get the work done. Working with the brigade commander and brigade command sergeant major who are my bosses has been a great experience, I believe in their philosophy and mentorship as well as the latitude they give me to command the troop."
Nunn believes there are challenges in any command and those challenges are tougher for women in the Army. She believes that in order for women to succeed to positions of leadership they have to have a level of maturity and have great role models.
"Whether you're enlisted or an officer, you need good role models," said Nunn. "That is a challenge because there aren't as many women in the Army as there are men."
Nunn says the challenges she and other women face in the military is that the services are predominantly male and trying to figure out a way to work with them and get their point across.
"I get better with it as time goes by, said Nunn. "I become more mature and understand the dynamics of people in an organization."
Nunn believes that women have been moving forward progressively and hopes that continues in the future with more women in leadership positions. She believes a woman can bring a lot to the Army and hopes in the future to see more women as troop commanders.
Nunn's own future is very clear to her. She hopes to retire as a colonel and have a successful family life with her husband.
Nunn's husband, Lawrence, is the commander of Company C, 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry Regiment.
"You have to find the balance," said Nunn. "You have to balance being a Soldier and being a woman and family oriented."
Nunn believes that she is succeeding in what she is setting out to do. Working with the troop is a challenge but one she is ready to take on.
"They are great Soldiers who are doing a thankless task and I will work for them and their families and prepare them for our next deployment."