OTF Soldier Story for March 21, 2011 - Capt. Lindsey Baughn
Current Unit: Support Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne)
Current Position: Quartermaster Officer
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Fort Bragg, N.C., and Southern Pines, N.C.
Hometown: Covington, Ky.
Years of Service: 10
When Capt. Lindsey Baughn joined the Army through the Reserve Officer Training Command program at Campbell University in North Carolina, she was looking for adventure and the opportunity to be independent. Now, a decade later, she still isn’t one to shy away from a challenge, and has worked hard to establish her career in the Army.
Her determined attitude drove her to excel during her deployment to Afghanistan last year. While serving with Regional Support Command – North, Baughn worked as a requirements officer responsible for working directly with members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to ensure they received the support they needed. Specifically, she was in charge of tracking spending to ensure all contracts were effectively executed and that resources were not being mismanaged.
Due to language and cultural barriers, working with coalition forces was challenging at times, but Baughn valued the opportunity to serve alongside troops from other countries.
“Learning how they view their contribution to the war was really interesting,” she said. “I had a chance to interact with many different types of people and learn about their cultural values and their work ethic.”
Although she expected to encounter more resistance to being a female officer in the Middle East, Baughn was pleasantly surprised that the majority of ANSF troops respected her regardless of gender. One Afghan general even went to great lengths to host a banquet in her honor.
“That was just one example of the mutual respect we shared with the ANSF,” she said. “It was really special because even though they had few resources, they prepared a giant spread, and they were eating with us, which meant they really accepted us. It was just so clear that they really wanted to thank us for our help.”
Baughn acknowledges that earning respect has not always been easy, especially as a young female officer, but she is committed to being taken seriously by the Soldiers in her command.
“If you have to work harder to be taken seriously as a female Soldier in a leadership position, then work harder.” she said. “You should hold yourself to the same standards your male counterparts are being held to.”
As a single mother, it was especially difficult for Baughn to deploy for a year, leaving her three-year-old daughter behind. While she was overseas, the Soldier relied on her family and friends to take care of her daughter.
“Balancing my Army duties and my role as a single mom has forced me to apply a higher standard to myself,” she said. “Figuring out where my daughter fits in my career has been a huge challenge, but managing the two roles has made me a stronger person.”
After her own experiences serving in the military, Baughn hopes that her daughter will have a chance to be exposed to many of the same opportunities that the military gave her.
“I want my daughter to explore the world, make her own decisions, experience everything for herself. I want her to meet and accept all sorts of people,” she said. “My experiences in the Army really helped me become more accepting and less judgmental.”
Baughn lives with her daughter in Southern Pines, N.C., and serves with the Support Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, N.C.