News: A ‘Devil’ Soldier’s fight of firsts
Story by Pvt. Alyxandra McCheseney
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq – “I watched from my office as people made the decision to burn or jump from the World Trade Center windows on 9\11,” described Spc. Natalie Alcee, a Ozone Park, N.Y. native, serving with 101st Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, from Fort Riley, Kan., who worked at a law firm a few blocks down the street from the two towering buildings.
“That day I knew I was going to serve for what our nation stands for, our freedom,” continued Alcee.
Sitting in the conference room of 101st BSB at Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Kirkuk, Iraq, Feb. 24, Natalie Alcee shared her life experiences; illustrating the events that gave her the ambition and desire to continuously broaden her knowledge and fight for our nation.
With a rigid New York accent, Alcee described the struggles of being a teenage parent and how she overcame obstacles to obtain her goals and dreams.
“I had a beautiful daughter at the age of 16,” explained Alcee, “and there was a time when I wanted to give up—not finish school, but one day I woke up and realized that I didn’t want to be a statistic; that I was going to make something of myself.”
Alcee not only completed high school with her graduating class but also received acceptance to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In just three and a half years, Alcee graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies with a double minor in English and Law while maintaining two jobs and raising her daughter.
Glistening pools filled the corners of her eyes as she pounded her fist on the table to every first she achieved in her life, emphasizing the importance of those accomplishments.
“I was the first person in my family to go through high school here in the United States, the first to go to college and graduate, and the first to serve my country,” said Alcee.
“I always wanted to join the service and I knew I was going to, but as a mother I had obligations to wait until my daughter was of age before I could join,” she said.
Alcee said she wanted to dedicate her service to those who died during the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and to the men and women who dedicated their lives to ensuring that Americans can live in freedom.
In 2009, Alcee enlisted in the U.S. Army with a four-year contract as a human resources specialist.
The duties and responsibilities of a human resources specialist include managing the readiness, health, and welfare of all soldiers and providing postal and personnel accountability support. Alcee also retains the responsibility of maintaining emergency notification data and preparing casualty reports.
Aside from fulfilling her daily duties as a soldier, she manages her time to continue expanding her knowledge.
Attending Trident University International online, with a focus in Business Administration, Alcee hopes to receive her first master’s degree in Business Management and graduate with a 3.9 grade point average.
“Even though I have a full-time load at work, I manage my time to study, complete homework, and still have the time to sit back and relax,” said Alcee. “One way I like to get away from everything is [playing disc jockey] at Salsa night.”
Alcee’s story inspired her peers and motivated her leaders to strive for excellence beyond the call of duty.
Inspired to broaden her educational horizons, Alcee’s mentor, Staff Sgt. Erica Ortiz-Burgado, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico and military intelligence sergeant assigned to 101st BSB, 1st AATF, enrolled into online classes.
“Her motivation is contagious,” said Ortiz-Burgado. “She pushed me to stop talking about my dreams and to get up and make those dreams reality.”
Ortiz-Burgado explained her feelings of how Alcee is a great asset to the Army and to 101st BSB.
“As a soldier she has accomplished so much, and as a person she has accomplished even more,” said Ortiz-Burgado. “She is always striving to better herself, and in the process she inspires the people around her to do the same.”
Ortiz-Burgado said Alcee is a perfect role model for civilians and soldiers, because she is living proof that anyone can accomplish anything if they set their mind to it.
“If you want something, you have to be hungry,” said Alcee. “You have to fight for it and never stop fighting.”