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Falk West Creek Visit

By Lee Elder Nashville Battalion

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 West Creek High School students were challenged to keep pushing for their dreams no matter what obstacles they encounter by a Soldier who knows a thing or two about clearing a path.

Sgt. Hailey Falk, who is stationed at nearby Fort Campbell, Ky., visited the north Clarksville school helping local Army recruiters today. She’s one of the initial female soldiers to serve as an Army combat engineer and last year became the first enlisted Soldier to complete the challenging Sapper Leader Course.

     “If you know what you what you want and keep pushing, you can do it,” Falk said. “The road may be hard, but it always ends. You just have to keep going.”

     Prior to Falk’s appearance, recruiters showed a video presentation documenting the trials of the Sapper Leader Course that began in 1985. The course is conducted at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. It consists of four weeks physically taxing and difficult training that is designed to teach advanced combat engineer battlefield tasks.

     “I did all that and more,” Falk said to the Junior ROTC students as the presentation ended.

     Falk, 23, told of her life growing up in tiny Phillips, Wisc., a town with less than 1,500 in northern Wisconsin. She played a variety of sports in high school including hockey, soccer, softball and volleyball.

     After attending college for two years, she decided to join the Army in 2016. She opted to be a combat engineer largely for the challenge it presented.

“I was only planning to use the money for school,” Falk said. “I decided to reenlist, and I can see a whole career in this.”

     Falk was very candid about the difficulties involved in Sapper School. She spoke of carrying a 75-80 pound pack while marching great distances. She credited the training she received in her unit - B Company, 39th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division – along with the help from her teammates in the Sapper Leader Course with helping her succeed.

     “The Army has built me as a person and given me more confidence,” Falk said. “If you give it your all and try your best, it’s possible.”

     Now that she’s completed Sapper School, Falk is training for her latest challenge. In April, she’s leaving Fort Campbell to train as an Army Drill Sergeant.  

     Hearing Falk’s story was a great role model for high school students said one of the school’s JROTC cadre, retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Scott Loose. Her appearance worked well with the theme of setting goals and accomplishing them.

     “It’s a great example for them to look at and apply to your own dreams,” Loose said. “It is my hope they will pull from her experiences and use it to help them accomplish their goals.”

     The school’s Army recruiter Staff Sgt. Stewart Thomas said Falk’s appearance was particularly encouraging to the female JROTC students. She’s proof positive of the growing opportunities for women in today’s Army.

     “It gives our female Junior ROTC cadets an opportunity to see that the combat (Military Occupational Skills) are open to everyone,” Thomas said. “She’s really a good example.”

     For her part, Falk said she was glad to have the opportunity to speak to the high school students. She downplayed the notion that she’s a pioneer in her field, but focused on common traits she shared with the students.

     “I want to tell them what the Army has done for me and what it can do for them,” Falk said. “I just want to them know my story and how they could possibly have the same story as mine.”

     For more information about Army opportunities, contact Thomas at (931) 647-1708. You can also stop by the Clarksville U.S. Army Recruiting Station at 3031 Wilma Rudolph Blvd. For Army opportunities any time, check out our website at www.GoArmy.com.