DJ “Die Hard” Explains Her Unique Path to Join the U.S. Army

By Maj. Javon Starnes, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command public affairs officerMay 31, 2023

McLean was recently promoted
McLean has always been a standout within the career field. (Photo Credit: Maj. Javon Starnes) VIEW ORIGINAL

DAEGU, Republic of Korea – Army Sergeant Amanda “DJ Die Hard” McLean, hailing from Houston, Texas, is a shining example of someone who embarked on an incredible journey that led her to the United States Army. In an exclusive interview, Sergeant McLean shared her background and the path that brought her to the Armed Forces Network in the Republic of Korea.

After completing her bachelor's degree in business administration at the University of Houston and working in professional sports hospitality management with both, the Houston Astros, and the Houston Texans. McLean found herself at a crossroads when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Seeking a change and the opportunity for personal growth, she embarked on a journey that led her to the Army.

McLean explains her daily routine to stay current on recent events. This enables her to provide timely and accurate information to listeners. (Photo Credit: Maj. Javon Starnes) VIEW ORIGINAL

"I did not want to box myself into a very niche field, especially during a time when everything is uncertain," McLean said. During the interview, McLean explained that her decision to join the Army was encouraged by her twin brother, James, who also enlisted on the same day. McLean and her brother both graduated from basic combat training together as well. Their sibling bonds have grown tightly as the two crossed over into their professional lives. While McLean pursued her passion in public affairs and was stationed in the Republic of Korea, James ventured in a slightly different direction and began a journey with the Defense Language Institute, learning Iraqi Arabic.

McLean is focused while on air. (Photo Credit: Maj. Javon Starnes) VIEW ORIGINAL

Having experienced the Army's opportunities firsthand, McLean is an advocate for fellow soldiers to take advantage of the educational programs and tuition assistance available. She often emphasizes the importance of continuing education. "They don't realize how lucky they are to have those opportunities and the support available to them," McLean said.

Not one to shy away from her own advice, McLean is pursuing a Master's in Public Administration and eventually plans to attend law school. Her dedication and commitment to professional growth make her an invaluable asset to the Army's public affairs career field.

Reflecting on her memorable experiences thus far, McLean fondly recalls a community outreach program where she had the chance to visit a local school in the Republic of Korea. There, she spent time with students, teaching them about American culture and cultivating relationships that will last a lifetime. "It reminded me of the impact we can have on the local community and how we can build positive relationships wherever we go," she shared.

DJ "Die Hard"
McLean poses for a quick picture prior to conducting the interview with 19th ESC. (Photo Credit: Maj. Javon Starnes) VIEW ORIGINAL

McLean's desire is to advance in the public affairs career field by seeking more challenging assignments. She aspires to become a subject matter expert in public affairs, utilizing her skills and experiences to bridge the gap between the Army and the public, fostering a better understanding of truth and transparency within communities.

To those considering a career in the Army, McLean offers sound advice. She encourages potential candidates to step out of their comfort zone, embrace new challenges, and leverage the Army's resources.

McLean's journey from Houston to the Army is a testament to the transformative power of the Army. Her story exemplifies the limitless opportunities and lifelong bonds that can be forged through service. She continues to make her mark in the Army. Her likable personality and enthusiasm can be heard daily on the radio – just tune in to your local AFN station if you’re in the Republic of Korea. You won't regret it.

For more information on the many paths available to join the United States Army, visit For more information about joining the 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, please visit