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    Leading From the Top

    Leading From the Top

    Photo By Billie Suttles | The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School Student Detachment Commander...... read more read more



    Story by Jane Lee 

    The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – What does meal after meal after yet another meal of chicken, rice and broccoli plus countless hours grinding away at the gym equal? For The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School Student Detachment 1st Sgt. Shamar Purdie, that kind of dedication and discipline adds up to not only being a better leader but also, count them, three Virginia powerlifting records.

    The New Jersey native just recently got into powerlifting at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I spend quite a bit of time throughout the day assisting others and trying to fill their cup, but I needed time to fill my own,” explained Purdie. “I originally started because I wanted to get stronger, but it quickly developed as ‘me time’ … my way of building mental resiliency through movement and physical fitness.”

    After graduating high school in Virginia Beach, Purdie enlisted in the Army twenty years ago. “I decided to join the military because I wanted to earn my independence, contribute to society in a meaningful way, and be part of something way bigger than myself,” said the paralegal.

    He emerged from basic training with the singular goal of becoming a first sergeant. “There is something extremely important and impactful about being a standard bearer, trainer, leader, and enlisted advisor to a Commander,” said Purdie. “It is where you have the opportunity to use your training and experience (both personal and professional) to ensure mission accomplishment while developing the Soldiers you are charged to lead.”

    As the top enlisted leader (“Top”) for every Officer Basic Course coming through TJAGLCS, Purdie draws on lessons learned from overcoming fear to motivate and mentor Soldiers. “When I first thought about going to [Airborne] school and training [to be a paratrooper], people doubted me,” recalled Purdie. “I trained for it physically … but more so mentally.

    “Every day I got a little bit better, grew more confident in my ability. From that experience alone, it taught me a lot about what you can do when you actually believe in yourself. There is no limit other than the one you set for yourself.”

    Top applies the same mindset in the weight room, a place he goes to just to think sometimes. “I wanted to establish a goal, be consistent and disciplined in working to achieve that goal and inspire others along the way.”

    Even though Purdie didn’t set out to achieve any records, his mental discipline and physical dedication earned him state-wide recognition in three separate events … back squat, bench press and deadlift … at the 2023 USPC Reapers Rebellion powerlifting competition. Despite all the accolades he earned in Fredericksburg this past July, Purdie credits flexing a different kind of strength for his success.

    “Your mind is your most powerful muscle, and it must be worked every single day,” said Purdie. “I can’t stress that enough. No matter what you are doing, you have to be strong here. That’s why adversity and challenges are so important because they teach you.”

    The Army knows good leadership when it sees it. Even though Purdie pcs’d to Charlottesville in May 2023, he is headed to the U.S. Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss this summer. “Every legal professional Soldier, civilian, NCO (non-commissioned officer), Commissioned Officer, Legal Administrator comes through TJAGLCS at some point for training or professional development,” said Purdie. “I am most proud of being part of the team here. This is truly a special place unlike any other. Never forget that it is an honor, blessing, and privilege to serve.”



    Date Taken: 01.17.2024
    Date Posted: 01.17.2024 14:22
    Story ID: 461968

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