Rank, name
Sgt. 1st Class LaToya McLaughlin

HHC, Training Support Battalion

Military Occupational
Specialty / Job title
44C, financial management technician/ Financial Management School AIT course director

Years in service

One daughter

Highest education
Pursuing a bachelor's degree

Reading, writing and watching sports

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Sgt. 1st Class LaToya McLaughlin says the good mentors that she has had as a Soldier has shaped her military career for the better.

"Various leaders have influenced me over my career," McLaughlin said. "I have had the opportunity to work for some wonderful non-commissioned officers... Without the mentorship of the leaders I have encountered, I don't know where I would be today."

McLaughlin has served a decade in the Army, with prior assignments at Fort Hood, Texas, and Camp Casey, Korea. In 2007, she deployed to Iraq.

She said her time in Iraq was most profound.

"My most memorable experience in the Army was my deployment to Iraq," McLaughlin said. "There was so much unexpected. I didn't realize how well trained we actually were. We were very successful as an organization. I am proud to say that I served my country in a contingency environment."

McLaughlin said she plans to serve another 10 years in the Army and while she supervises instructors at the Army's Financial Management School at Fort Jackson, she also wants to earn her master's degree before retiring.

She also said she wants to become a detachment sergeant or first sergeant, and eventually, a command sergeant major.

As a mentor and role model, McLaughlin said she encourages junior Soldiers to stay focused.

"Set goals for yourself and don't ever lose focus on the goals that you have set. You truly can (achieve) the things that you have set out to accomplish," she said.

We Salute You!