FORT IRWIN , CA, UNITED STATES
Story by Spc. Dominic Trujillo
There are many paths to the Army, however Sgt. Sharhonda Brown’s career was already determined by the time she enlisted in the Idaho Army National Guard.
“In my family you are either going to be a cook or a nurse,” Brown said. “My father was a cook in the Army while stationed in Germany during the Cold War, so that was naturally my path.”
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in botany and Italian studies, Brown enlisted as a 92G culinary specialist with a rank of specialist in November 2017.
“I originally enlisted to get good health insurance and money to help pay for my master’s degree,” said Brown.
Brown is currently studying for her masters degree in landscape architecture and resides in Pullman, Washington.
Within a year of finishing advanced individual training Brown was expediently promoted to sergeant and moved to Echo Company 1-183rd Assault Helicopter Battalion in Boise.
After arriving in her new position, Brown began to develop strong relationships with her team, which she credits to her success a noncommissioned officer.
“Spc. Alex Giorgianni and Pfc. Paige Kaea make up the core of my team,” said Brown. “Pfc. Kaea is such a hard worker who puts her head down and gets the job done,” Brown said. “Giorgianni is the quiet type who loves to learn, has all the outdated dad jokes and tends to be our unofficial taste tester,” said Brown
“Our team environment allows us to communicate well and be creative,” said Brown. “This is important because it allows for us to create a positive environment and bring good energy for the Soldiers that are coming through our line in the morning,” Brown said. “This sets the tone for the day in a lot of cases, especially here at National Training Center,” said Brown.
The tone and culture of the team starts at the top with Staff Sgt. Michael Hasel.
“For us this is all about customer service and family,” said Hasel, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Rotational Unit Bivouac Area dining facility.
Brown understands the importance of her NCOIC.
“Staff Sgt. Hasel provides the leadership that we need,” said Brown. “He focuses on the customer service aspect and serves as our ears for the feedback that we receive,” Brown said.
“Because of his interactions with other Soldiers we have received donations from other noncommissioned officers, with different military occupational specialties, who have helped provide some of the food used to make omelets and French toast,” said Brown. “It is truly a complete team effort from everyone here at NTC,” Brown said.
The infectious attitude, and quality of work, of Brown’s team has not gone unnoticed as numerous officers and enlisted personnel can be frequently heard talking amongst themselves about the quality of food they receive through Brown’s dining facility.
Recently, Brown earned a challenge coin from Sgt. Maj. Ronald Oldham, Deputy Mayor of the white cell on the RUBA.
“Sgt. Brown volunteered to come down here when she did not have to,” said Oldham. “Her attitude is unwavering, it is observable that she cares about her product and she never complains when I call her late and add more soldiers to what she can expect to serve the next day,” Oldham said.
Logistics has also taken note of Brown’s team.
“The whole dining facility team works so hard,” said Sgt. 1st Class Rosalie Glascock. “They are the first ones up at 0400 every morning and stay later than everyone else after dinner,” Glascock said.
As for her experience at NTC Brown said she’s grown a lot as a leader as a result of her increased responsibility.
“I have grown so much as a leader,” said Brown. “I used to be the quiet one in the group but not anymore,” Brown said. “Today I realize that I must lead by example and set the positive tone for my team,” said Brown. “We work closely together to get the job done right and most of all we have fun doing it,” Brown said.
The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team is training at the National Training Center May 24 through June 20 to prepare for its wartime mission. The rotation builds unit and Soldier proficiency to provide combatant commanders with a trained and ready force capable of fighting and winning our nation’s wars.