BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (March 14, 2016) -- Spc. Amanda Coyle with the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade is a consummate professional, according to her chain of command, and proves it daily by providing key intelligence collection and analysis skills to U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
"Her selfless service and courage in the face of overwhelming operational challenges" were just some of the reasons she was recognized at a ceremony, March 7, highlighting female service members at Bagram Airfield.
The specialist was acknowledged at a "Profiles in Courage" event to commemorate International Women's Day and to credit her tactical and technical proficiency demonstrated during her Afghanistan deployment. She was one of five female service members deployed to Bagram who was recognized as an outstanding Soldier and Military Intelligence professional.
During the ceremony, which was attended by several general officers, U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. David Julazadeh, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, presented Coyle with a framed American flag and signed certificate.
For Coyle's chain of command, the accolade came as no surprise for a Soldier who constantly puts it all on the line.
"(She) brings a strong desire for perfection for her team. She gives all to her team," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Chizek, who serves as Coyle's platoon sergeant. "She is very strong-willed and pushes both males and females to better themselves in life and their respective jobs."
Hailing from Sacramento, California, Spc. Coyle has served in the Army for four years. She deployed with the 303rd MI Battalion to Afghanistan in September 2015. The battalion, along with Soldiers from the brigade's 163rd MI Battalion, formed Task Force Longhorn, providing intelligence support to NATO and U.S. forces.
Already six months into her first deployment, Coyle said the variety of experiences there have proven successful in saving lives and promoting security.
"We have an extremely unique and multifaceted role in Afghanistan," Coyle said. "Because of this, our intelligence platoon has had multiple successes ... The team has put in countless hours to help improve the situation in Afghanistan, whether it has been helping eliminate insurgents from the battlefield or providing early warning to our Afghan counterparts."
Having graduated the Army's mountaineering school at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Spc. Coyle is no stranger to rigorous physical and intellectual demands. In her current role, she serves as an intelligence Soldier for the Bagram Ground Defense Zone, which supports Joint Task Force-10 and subordinate units through intelligence reporting and participation in force protection patrols.
According to Capt. Chad Lorenz, Commander of B Company, 303rd MI Battalion, Spc. Coyle quickly mastered effective written communication skills, earning her the role of reviewing all intelligence reports before transmitting to higher headquarters. Numbering nearly 300 reports, the intelligence gleaned has provided timely and relevant insight into potential enemy threats countrywide. Lorenz also said the specialist has conducted 25 patrols outside the base's perimeter, while conducting her duties "in the face of some very real threats to both her unit and its mission."
After six U.S. Airmen were killed in December 2015 from an improvised explosive device attack, Spc. Coyle proved her mettle by volunteering for a combat patrol four days later on Christmas Day, around the base perimeter.
"Following (the December 2015) attack, Amanda demonstrated admirable courage, requesting to participate in upcoming planned missions, ready to both target and gain additional clarity on the (enemy) threat," Lorenz said during the recognition ceremony. The platoon's operational intelligence gathered helped to defuse the enemy threat over the next two weeks.
For Coyle, the opportunity to be recognized was outside her comfort zone. She is quick to place credit on other service members who do extraordinary things every day.
"There are men and women on (Bagram Airfield) that go beyond their call of duty every day," Coyle said. "I don't consider myself a hero by any means, and I look to those around me for inspiration and motivation. To be put in the same group as those women that have inspired me was completely humbling."
She said the long days as an intelligence collector each brings its own trials and triumphs. No two days are the same, she said.
"Some days we are running dismounted missions, some days we are doing our job here on Bagram. Each day, we also face a new set of challenges, whether job-related or personal," Coyle said. "Sometimes work takes (her platoon) 'outside of the wire', and other times it keeps them busy at a computer. We are fortunate enough to have a strong team that works together to help make the work feel lighter."
The U.S. Department of Defense tributes March as Women's History Month. Staff Sgt. Chizek said that observing women's history is imperative to future generations in inspiring greatness.
"Celebrating women's history is an absolute necessity. The importance of celebrating their contributions of women to society is pivotal to empowering more women to strive for excellence in their lives," Chizek said.
Within B Company, 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 17 percent are female Soldiers, according to Capt. Lorenz, and valuing women's contributions to the military honors those who give their all.
"The Army affords Soldiers with numerous opportunities to test themselves and excel through challenging circumstances, and celebrating Women's History Month allows us to highlight the accomplishments of just a few of the many Army women who do this every day," Lorenz said. "An event recognizing their courage, determination and skill serves to inspire others to display the same qualities."