During a time when Americans applaud troop withdrawal more than deployment in Afghanistan, a soldier’s desire to head back to the war-ridden country may be frowned upon. But Major Wendi Brown said she would go back immediately as her experience made her the “proud American” some people refuse to be called.

“I would definitely go back over there,” Brown said. “The experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone.”

As an African-American woman with two deployment tours under her belt along with three major awards—Bronze Star Medal, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal (NATO) and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal—Brown’s passion to serve her country is evident—her work ethic is unmatched and her perspective on life is different.

“ has actually enhanced my life,” she said. “It was an intense environment regardless of gender and race. You have to stay focused on the mission.”

Brown served in supply chain management for the Army in Afghanistan, overseeing $40 million worth of equipment to make sure it was sent from Afghanistan to the U.S. through proper channels between January 2010 and June 2011. She said her role helped develop a “Type A” personality, refusing to accept excuses.

“I took things very seriously—mistakes were unacceptable,” said Brown, who also served as a Force Program Liaison Officer for the Pentagon. “I was really stuck on, ‘I will not fail.’”

Fear was not an option while serving in Afghanistan, according to the 1992 Howard University graduate. “There were some attempts to infiltrate,” the U.S. camp, Brown said. But she said her spirituality and confidence helped guide her through the darkest nights.

“I was confident that nothing was going to happen to me. My family was very worried but they just kept sending more prayers,” she said.

Witnessing destruction and the lifestyle of Afghans, Brown said Americans should be more thankful to live in a country that’s less dangerous.

“We have it extremely good in America,” she said. “We have the young people who kind of feel entitled.”

To instill some values Brown learned overseas, she currently mentors a 13-year-old who grew up in a foster home. “It’s so rewarding,” she said.

Growing up, Brown said she was very ambitious about her future, but just did not know how to get where she wanted to go.

After acquiring a four-year scholarship to enroll in Howard University’s U.S. Army ROTC program, Brown said she found her passion to lead a military lifestyle.

Humbly glossing over her resume, Brown still could not downplay her duties in the military; but she is not as square as the list makes her out to be. She loves to jet-ski and spend time at the beach and hopes to marry and have kids one day. Her spirituality has strengthened her and she said she is not the same Wendi as before deployment.

“I welcome adversities now, I get it,” Brown said. “You’re going to get through hell to get to heaven.

“I’ve learned how to go through the hard times. “

 

Erica Butler

AFRO Staff Writer