FORT HOOD, Texas- Training, preparing and readiness are words used often in today's Army. Soldiers spend countless hours training to perfect their skills, ensuring when called on to accomplish a mission they are ready.
Sgt. Anthony Elliott, 28, an intelligence analyst assigned to the Regimental Engineer Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, makes it a point to be prepared for anything that comes his way.
"Every time there's a ceremony, I rehearse the national anthem that morning," said Elliott, a native of Ellicott City, Maryland. "Just in case."
Elliott's preparation paid off during the 3rd Cavalry Regiment change of responsibility ceremony Sept. 14 when a sound system glitch caused the music to cut out after the first chord of the national anthem.
"I heard the music cut out, and my initial reaction was to grab the microphone. First, I asked the regimental executive officer if I should, and he gave me the go ahead," Elliott said.
"Having Sgt. Elliott there to step in really kept the ceremony together and ensured Command Sgt. Maj. Barker received respect he deserved," said Maj. John Davis, the regimental executive officer. "He recognized his team needed him, and accomplished the mission. The entire regiment is proud of him for his actions that day."
During the ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Bryan Barker relinquished responsibility to Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Nash after serving as the 3rd Cav. Regt. senior enlisted advisor since 2015. Nash became the 22nd regimental command sergeant major in the regiment's 171-year history.
Elliott's contributions to the day were not lost on Nash.
"Great cavalry troopers display courage, they react to contact, which can come in many forms and they step up to tough challenges," Nash said. "Sgt. Elliott is a great example of a cavalry trooper with his actions. He is in inspiration to the troopers around him. I am extremely pleased to have him in the 3d Cavalry Regiment. "
Fortunately, it was not Elliott's first time singing for a crowd. He has been performing the national anthem since he joined the Army five years ago, and enjoys being on stage performing, he said.
"I wasn't nervous at all," Elliott said. "I tried out for the Soldier Show twice, but I didn't have enough experience yet because I was still in training at the time. I also competed in Operation Rising Star, which is like the military version of American Idol. I did that twice as well, and finished in the top six semifinalists in 2014."
Singing is not his only talent. Elliott also plays piano, bass and enjoys learning other instruments. However, his true passion is being an Army leader.
"I love what I do. I love being able to put on the uniform and be a leader for Soldiers," Elliott said. "Serving in the Army is something I want to continue doing for a long time."
Before the ceremony was over, another malfunction caused the Army song not to play. Elliot, again, stepped in to lead the song and end the ceremony on a high note.
"I reacted that day as I would react to any other mission," Elliott said. "Readiness is being ready to step up when your team needs you. Having that prior preparation so you can accomplish any mission is critical."