By Steven Stover, 780th Military Intelligence Brigade (Cyber)September 8, 2017
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md., Sept. 8, 2017 -- Army Sgt. Brittany Wildman from Woodstock, Ohio, joined the Army to protect her family and to safeguard her country's way of life. However, she quickly learned that a desk job was not her style.
On July 30, the former cyberspace operations specialist graduated from the Cavalry Scout, 19D military occupational specialty M3 Bradley/Humvee course, and she is attending the Basic Airborne Course before going to her next duty assignment with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The Army's official recruiting website said cavalry scouts are the "eyes and ears" of the commander during battle. They engage the enemy in the field, track and report enemy activity and direct the employment of weapon systems to their locations.
"When I was little, it was always a dream of mine to be a soldier," Wildman said. "As I grew up I learned my 'Why'… and simply put -- it's my family. I could never imagine something bad happening to them or my home. I feel that it is my duty to protect them and my country's way of life from those who threaten it."
She credits her recruiter for her decision to join the Army. No one else in her family serves in the military -- she's the first -- however, the recruiter made her feel that the Army could be her extended family and was where she belonged.
And while Wildman doesn't have any ill feelings toward the cyber branch; on the contrary she learned quite a bit, it just wasn't what she wanted to do.
'Boots on the Ground'
"When I joined the Army, I wanted to be the boots on the ground, however, females were not allowed to be in these roles," Wildman said.
"So, I went with this new MOS that I knew nothing about," she added. "I would quickly learn that a desk 'computer' job' was not my style."
Wildman began pestering her unit career counselor about her options of switching to a more tactical career field.
Army Sgt. Brittany Wildman is transitioning from being a cyber soldier to a cavalry scout
"Then one day the door opened up, and I was able to chase my childhood dreams." Wildman said.
Her role model and motivator throughout this process has been retired Army Lt. Col. Dan Schilling, a 30-year special operations veteran. While he did not influence Wildman's decision to become a cavalry scout -- he is someone she looks up to and she aspires to have the same experiences he had when he served in the military.
"In Sergeant Wildman I recognized the latent trifecta of adaptability, audaciousness and relentless pursuit of a goal. What she needed was encouragement and some direction," Schilling said. "From there, I knew she's self-actualized enough that those traits would land her in the right mission space with like-minded individuals. As indeed it appears to be doing. I'd predict the 82nd is merely a stop on the way to something bigger."
Wildman knows she's not the first female soldier to transition to a combat arms branch, and that really wasn't her reason to make the move. It's simply something she has wanted to do since joining the Army and is thankful for the opportunity. She offers the following advice to others, regardless of their gender.
"For the last several years, I have been told by everyone that it will never happen, or I would never make it, and that it was unrealistic to want to join the combat arms, especially to leave cyber for that." Wildman said. "Despite being told by just about everyone to throw in the towel, I never gave up and here I am as a 19D."
And what are her career aspirations?
"My long term goal is to be the Sergeant Major of the Army," Wildman said.