News: Cross-training makes for well-rounded soldier
Story by Sgt. Shanika Futrell
FORT POLK, La. - When Spc. Angelica Natalie Antiporda, now a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer with Company E, 4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, first deployed to Afganistan, she did not have an noncommissioned officer there who was a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer to do some on-the-job training with her.
"I was ready to do my job when I came to the unit, but to my surprise that was wishful thinking," said Antiporda.
Instead of doing absolutely nothing, she decided to cross-train in many military occupational specialties.
"It has been an incredible experience - cross-training with the other jobs," said Antiporda. "I cannot pump gas into the birds, because only a [petroleum supply specialist] can do that, but I have pulled fire guard and that was exciting; I have also repaired a tire by myself. I am ecstatic about this because I have never changed a tire before, let alone repaired one."
Anyone that comes across Antiporda finds out quickly she is a hard-charging soldier.
"She is a hard worker, she asks questions and she likes getting out there and working with the guys working on the equipment," said Sgt. 1st Class Charles Robert Johnson, Jr., the motor sergeant for Company E, 4th Bn., 101st Avn. Rgt. "She is always hungry for more knowledge; she has been and continues to be cross trained on other MOSs, so we put her in charge of the [forward repair system]. Overall, she is an outstanding soldier."
With the knowledge she now carries under her belt with a little more than two-and-a-half years in the military, Antiporda proudly said she is a well-rounded soldier whom her leaders want to retain, but she is undecided because her husband, being in the Marines and so far away, is what she is missing in her life.
"If the retention officer can work this small situation out, I could very well be one of the best assets for the military," said Antiporda.
Today Antiporda is training under a quartermaster and chemical equipment repairer, while her battalion conducts a field training exercise for another deployment; this time she is in charge of an important piece of equipment.
"I am in charge of what is called the forward repair system, which is pretty much a big tool box," said Antiporda. "We use it to supplement our toolboxes and in the FRS is where the bigger tools are located. When soldiers need bigger tools to conduct their maintenance, they come to me and sign them out."
Antiporda said she is happy in her unit, and is proud of her battle buddies helping her along the way.
"Without my battle buddies, I could not have been the well-rounded soldier I am today," said Antiporda. "The guys have played a few tricks on me because I was a newbie, but I am grateful for it all. This is my family, they take care of me and I take care of them."