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Medina native is honor grad of National Guard combat team in Middle East

Photo by Sgt. Devin Lewis: U.S. Army Spc. Emilee Austin, 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, West Virginia National Guard, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, leads Basic Leader's Course 20-703 in the reciting of the Noncommissioned Officer's Creed at their graduation ceremony in the Middle East, Jan. 24, 2020. Austin was the honor graduate from her class of over 200 students, including 26 Soldiers from the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team with seven earning recognition on the commandant's list. Austin is a 2014 graduate of Medina High School.

Staff Reports Posted 22 February 2020 at 8:28 pm

A 2014 Medina High School graduate is the top-ranked soldier out of about 200 who completed a Basic Leader’s Course in the Middle East.

U.S. Army Spc. Emilee Austin graduated on Jan. 24. She is a member of the 1-150th Cavalry Regiment, West Virginia National Guard, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team.

At the Basic Leader’s Course soldiers learned the fundamentals of leadership, readiness and training.

Spc. Austin was the distinguished honor graduate and recipient of the commandants writing award. She said that one of the advantages to attending BLC while deployed is that soldiers are already away from home and in the same environment.

“We were able to bond more as a class because we were all going through the same things,” Austin told Army Lt. Col. Cindi King, who highlighted Austin in a news article for the West Virginia National Guard. (Click here to see the full article.) “Having a support system is a big factor, which we had from our units and from one another.”

The National Guard article goes on to state the following:

The course teaches soldiers the fundamentals of training, including physical readiness. Austin said that being proficient in physical readiness training is important when attending the course.

“Have all of the exercises from start to finish memorized and make sure you are doing everything properly,” said Austin. “It’s all goes back to attention to detail.”

One of the biggest advantages for today’s soldiers preparing for leadership courses is access to information and the regulations through technology. They have the ability to research and study on the internet at all times through their cell phones.

Aside from the access to mobile technology, the soon-to-be-NCOs also benefitted from strong leaders and instructors.

Austin said that her classmates had outstanding small group leaders who facilitated the instruction and shared lessons from their own experiences. She added it was also beneficial to hear from her peers and their experiences.

“One of our instructors told us, ‘don’t become what you unit is, become what your unit can be,’” said Austin. “Take what you learn from BLC and apply it back at your unit and be ready to make change to be better.”

The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team is comprised of National Guard Soldiers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia and Washington, deployed for Operation Spartan Shield.

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