First Lt. Alex Shen said learning Army lingo is a challenge in and of itself. As a Chinese American, he also has a language barrier he has to climb to be an effective communicator.
“To be a leader in the Army is very challenging for me because English is definitely not my first language. But I learn every day,” said Shen.
He is the executive officer of D Battery, 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery. He is surrounded by others who are learning the intricate language of the Army.
As Basic Combat trainees do their best to step in sync and learn the ins and outs of the military, Shen ensures their transformation from civilian to Soldier is a smooth one.
“What I like most about the Army is you keep pushing your limit. You don’t know where your next limit is until you’re pushing for it,” said Shen.
Although he has a college degree and experience in ROTC, Shen said the Army continues to be an educational environment for him.
“The Army is school for me — learning and learning.”
Shen is an air defense artillery officer, or 14A. He said being part of the Army’s top priorities has a sort of VIP status to it.
“My favorite part of being ADA is learning the new technology that normal civilians wouldn’t normally see or use.”
As far as why Shen decided to leave Los Angeles for the Army adventure, he said,” I wanted to join the Army because I wanted to try something new — challenge myself and see if I could do it. When I was in college, I joined ROTC so I decided to commission.”
Growing daily from experience, Shen said he put careful thought into joining the Army. He advises others to do the same.
“Ask people. Do research before you make the big decision because this is a big decision … probably one of the biggest decisions of your life.”