My name is Brittany Clark and I am a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
I was a Gold Bar Recruiter for nine months at Santa Clara. From there, I went to Engineer Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) for four months in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. I'm currently assigned to the 54th Engineer Battalion based out of Bamberg, Germany.
The battalion deployed to Afghanistan 1 1/2 months after I arrived in Germany. My first job was as the Public Affairs Officer, responsible for information operations, public affairs and battalion history. It was a cool job in which I basically chose my own missions. I went out with the all the battalion's Route Clearance Patrols (RCPs) and I had to work with the different battle space owners to integrate their information operations campaigns into our route clearance missions.
I also coordinated brigade assets like the Tactical Psychological Operations Teams and Human Terrain Teams to accompany us on missions. I was a primary staff officer and had to attend all the command and staff meetings, BUBs, and mission analysis meetings.
Right now, I'm taking over as a platoon leader for a route clearance platoon.
ROTC taught me how the Army works.
It provided the basic foundation of the Army system. These are all things that we take for granted. It taught me where to find answers, be it, knowing the right person to talk to, or where to look things up in Field Manuals (FMs) and Technical Manuals (TMs).
It also taught me how a battalion operates: planning, executing, utilizing the chain of command, and conducting meetings and briefings. I learned fundamentals like maintaining military bearing, proper wear of the uniform, and Army customs and courtesies.
Additionally, I learned some of the basics about being an Army leader; I actually deployed with a folder of notes that I had from my ROTC classes. I've reflected back on these notes to help me write Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Reports (NCOERs), Officer Evaluation Reports (OER) support forms, and counseling statements.
ROTC also forced me to challenge myself and push my limits. I enjoyed the camaraderie experienced on Field Training Exercises (FTXs), at Physical Training (PT), and training for Ranger Challenge competition and the Bataan Death March. I also have a lot of great memories from ski trips, white water rafting trips, and the battalion Christmas parties.
I appreciated having a completely different college experience than the average college student.