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    Not your average teacher

    Not your average teacher

    Photo By Sgt. Rob Cooper | Capt. Rebecca Cassady is a member of the 55th Sustainment Brigade, Virginia Army...... read more read more

    CAMP ATTERBURY, IN, UNITED STATES

    01.18.2008

    Story by Sgt. Rob Cooper 

    Camp Atterbury Public Affairs

    By Rob Cooper, Crier staff writer

    CAMP ATTERBURY, Indiana - Rebecca Cassady isn't your average second grade teacher. Sure, she has that friendly demeanor that every parent hopes for in an elementary educator, and her smile echoes a caring and understanding sense of compassion. Certainly her unassumingly 5-foot-6-inch figure provides her young students a non-threatening forum during class time.

    Maybe it's the fact that she's lived her entire life in Brownsville, Texas, and that her alma mater Resaca Elementary plays host to her class of inquiring minds. After all, the sense of security found in a sunny tourist town can surely give anyone an equally sunny disposition. But Cassady doesn't concern herself with a feeling a safety; she has greater things to commit rather than herself.

    No, something lies beneath this 30-year-old's gentle exterior. Under the appearance of a civilian teacher exists a leader of men and a battle-hardened warrior. While she still retains her passion for selflessness, Rebecca Cassady is no longer a tender teacher, but a defender of freedom cast in digital camouflage. Capt. Cassady is an American Soldier.

    Sitting on a cafeteria bench in a hollow stone barracks at Camp Atterbury, Ind., Cassady spoke about her military and civilian experience during a short break between a busy training schedule. Cassady, along with other Army Reserve Soldiers from around the country, have converged at Camp Atterbury to train prior to deploying to Iraq. Her unit, the 55th Sustainment Brigade, will serve an important roll in Iraq providing crucial logistics such as food, water and fuel during their stay.

    Serving as a battle captain for the unit, Cassady will monitor Soldier movement and manage vital information between the various leaderships while deployed. The role of communicating and educating falls directly in line with her civilian roll as a teacher, which she admits to choosing based on her experiences in her home town.

    "I don't know how to glorify my occupation, but education is pretty important to me," she said. "I guess I felt the need to teach based on the demographics around me, to foster the spirit of learning. I remember my second grade class and seeing the need for improvement."

    This is not the first time Cassady has served as a battle captain, nor is she a stranger to the Middle East; as an active duty Soldier in 2003, she served at Baghdad international airport for a year. Cassady said that her experience in the military is reflected daily in her teaching standards.

    "I stress organization skills and time management," she said. "I also try to prevent procrastination. These are things I've learned as a Soldier. It's just being aware of every student individually: Is he getting his homework in on time? Is she making friends? Is he getting along with the other classmates?"

    While communicating with Soldier versus children has its obvious parallels, Cassady said that she applies the same principles. "Even when I was teaching, I paid very close attention to those very behind or far ahead of the rest," she said. "You always have to find a way to communicate in a manner that they understand. It's constant mental gymnastics."

    "With the students, I have to be a soft cushion," she added. "Here, I'm a cement block, and at least I don't have to use my inside voice with Soldiers.

    The return from deployment will hold new opportunities away from teaching for Cassady, however, who said that she plans to pursue a new career field in medicine.

    "I've always felt that there's a need to strengthen the community through education and healthcare," she said. "We need to ensure that our children are safe and given every possibility of succeeding."

    In the meantime, Cassady said that she is happy to serve her country in the way that best suits her; that of a teacher, a leader and a warrior.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.18.2008
    Date Posted: 01.18.2008 14:06
    Story ID: 15579
    Location: CAMP ATTERBURY, IN, US 

    Web Views: 445
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