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News | Aug. 26, 2020

A mom in boots: how a 35 year-old found her place in the U.S. Army

By Amanda Surmeier USAREC Public Affairs

After years of experiencing life in the Army from the outside as a military spouse, Kristi Clark decided it was time to answer her call to serve.

Clark, now a sergeant first class, recalls growing more and more interested in - and maybe a little jealous of - the life her special operations husband was living. At 35 years old she enlisted, leaving her life as a stay-at-home mom, part-time mortgage loan officer, basketball coach and personal trainer.

"I wanted what he had and to be a part of something that would challenge myself mentally and physically," Clark said.

With a little encouragement from her husband, Clark remembers going down to a recruiting station alone the next day and was kissing her family goodbye three months later as she headed to Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson.

Although physically ready for training, she said being the oldest in her class wasn't the easiest mentally.

“It took me a few weeks to adjust to the rigorous schedule, but with determination, dedication to succeed, and personal courage- I overcame my obstacles and graduated at the top of my class with pride,” Clark said. “Every one of my life experiences prepared me to have the confidence and boldness to set out to be a leader.”

In her 12 years as an active-duty human resources Soldier, Clark deployed twice to Iraq with 5th Special Forces Group (A), traveled throughout Asia and the Pacific on 17 temporary duty assignments as the administrative assistant to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command commander, worked four years at the Pentagon at joint senior level operations, was the III Corps deputy commanding general's executive assistant, and is currently the #USAREC headquarters command group noncommissioned officer in charge.

Clark spends her free time working out, boating, hunting, golfing, baking cakes and spending time with her husband and two children.

"As a mom, I strive to love, mentor, and set the example to my children to succeed in their own lives. As a military spouse, I aspire to be the best partner, helper and friend to my husband," Clark said. "As a Soldier, I desire to excel in everything that I do, embody all the Army Values, and continue to develop my skills as a leader of character-devoted to mentoring Soldiers, the mission, and achieving it to the highest standard."

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