KANDAHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Throughout history, African Americans like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks have helped change the way people perceive American heroes. By sharing a dream and standing up for what they believed in, civil rights leaders paved the way for everyone to be treated equal, regardless of color.
During the month of February these men and women are celebrated as part of the nation’s Black History Month.
Helping carry the dream of the African American community, Staff Sgt. Cathy Breedlove, non-commissioned officer in charge of the Brigade Support Medical Company, 25th Brigade Support Battalion, is among the many inspirational African American figures that are celebrated for their contributions on the frontlines of today’s military.
Born in Houston, Texas, Cathy Breedlove was raised by her mother, Ester Breedlove, not to ‘see black and white’ and instead was pushed to be her best even if that meant attending a math and science academy where she was ‘only one of six black students in the entire school.’
“My mother always tried to help me ‘flower what I was trying to grow’,” said Breedlove.
Despite being the minority in school, Breedlove said she never saw racism growing up, an example of success she attributes to the famous civil rights leaders that came before her.
As the daughter of a single parent, Breedlove said she often found strength from her mother and grew up wanting to emulate her.
“My mom was always my inspiration,” she said. “I would have to say she’s right up there with Martin Luther King … she’s not famous but she was always there.”
After watching her mom care for the sick and injured as a nurse and hearing her uncle talk about life in the Army, Cathy said she decided to join the Military as a medical professional.
As a combat medic with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, deployed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Cathy Breedlove spends many of her days training and mentoring fellow medics.
“She’s an NCO that upholds the standard bar none,” said Pfc. Mayra Torres, a combat medic with the 25th BSB. “Sergeant Breedlove pushes us to be the best and never accepts mediocre work. She doesn’t care what color you are she always treats everyone with respect and demands the best from them.”
In addition to training medics, the 17-year military veteran also spends her time overseeing and upholding the standard of operations for the support battalion’s aid station located on Kandahar Airfield.
Through hard work and dedication as a combat medic, Breedlove has displayed the characteristics and lived the values that inspire the soldiers around her to do better Torres said.
In January, she was recognized for setting a sterling example of leadership by being named the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division NCO of the Month.
As a humble and soft-spoken NCO, she attributes her success in the military to her hard working mother who ‘was always there’ and to the dream of one man, spoken at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
Just a few years from retirement, Breedlove hopes she can serve as an example of success and continue to inspire the people around her.
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This work, Black History Month: A man’s dream and a woman’s love, by SSG Thomas Duval, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.