FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHANK, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc.
Takisha S. Brock, 40, a signal support system specialist
assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th
Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, is
serving in Afghanistan after an opportunity was presented to
her she couldn't pass up.
U.S. Army Spc. Takisha S. Brock, a signal support system specialist
assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Infantry
Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, is serving in
Afghanistan providing combat network radio support to her brigade
March 22, 2013, at Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar province,
Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor)
Brock, a Washington, N.C., native, said she always wanted
to serve because three of her cousins served during Desert
Storm. After graduating high school she planned to attend
Queens University, N.C., on an athletic scholarship. Her
plans soon changed, as months later, she had a son.
She quickly went from studying, to being a mom and working.
Brock, the eldest and only female of three siblings, said
her family has always shown her love and support in
everything she's done, especially her parents.
“I admire my
mother because she raised me to be a strong woman,” she said. The
characteristics of a strong woman helped her raise her son, Dimetrio,
who has autism and requires special care. It takes a lot of patience
and adaptation to meet the challenges, she added.
As a single
mom, Brock raised her son while she worked two jobs and went to
college. She earned a bachelor's degree in health care management
and obtained two other associate degrees.
As time passed, and
while working two jobs in medical administration, the idea of
serving her country looked more distant. One day, while she was at a
grocery store, an Army recruiter approached her, thinking she was
younger, Brock said.
After talking to the recruiter, Brock,
then 38, realized her opportunity to serve was still available. The
wait time to come in as an officer was 18 months, and if she didn't
take the opportunity then, she wouldn't be in the Army now, due to
the Army's maximum age of enlistment, she said.
2010, she fulfilled her desire to serve as an enlisted member. She
attended basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and then
continued to advanced individual training at Fort Gordon, Ga., home
of the Army Signal Corps.
Her first permanent duty station
was with the Vanguard Brigade out of Fort Stewart, Ga., where she
gained the trust of her leaders. She was awarded the Army
Achievement Medal after her performance at the brigade's field
exercise before their deployment. She was then selected to deploy
early to help transition and setup communication systems in support
of the brigade's mission in support of the International Security
Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
“I thought of her
immediately to come over here and get us setup and established,”
said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert J. Allen, the signal systems
chief for the 4th IBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. “When I got here, everything
was setup and running, and there weren't any issues. She is reliable
and she's dependable.”
Although Brock's military career is
bright, she said she faced some physical challenges at age 38.
“I wish I would have enlisted ten years earlier,” she said, but
her earlier struggles helped her adapt. “You have to adapt; you are
constantly meeting challenges and things that you have to ...
overcome,” she said.
Being deployed, she now faces a bigger
challenge, being away from her son for nine months. Now that her son
is older and with the support of her family in N.C., she is able to
serve. She also said it helps that she works with a good team who is
“I've learned a lot about myself as a
person; people have always told me that I have a strong character
because of the things I've encountered in my life,” she said.
Brock is responsible for providing combat network radio support
to the Vanguard Brigade which allows the brigade operations center
to securely communicate with any subordinate unit, and maintains the
equipment to ensure it stays functional.
Brock plans to
re-enlist and work on her master's degree in business organization
and business management.
By Army Staff Sgt. Elvis Umanzor
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