Face of Defense: Army Sergeant Major Pursues Her Dreams

By Whitney Katz Joint Enabling Capabilities Command


MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., July 28, 2015 — Army Sgt. Maj. Kristie Brady said she knew from a young age that she wanted to serve in the military like her father had.

Brady was raised in Ethan, South Dakota, a farming town with a population of 300.

“I wanted to be a part of something larger than myself,” Brady said. “I wanted to travel and gain experiences that would not be possible in my hometown.”

Brady found that life-changing opportunity in 1992, when she entered the Army’s Delayed Entry Program at age 17. Since then, Brady has continued to broaden her horizons and exceed expectations as an information technology specialist and an airborne-qualified jumpmaster.

Her commitment and dedication to service have led to an historical event, as she was recently chosen as the next command sergeant major of the 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion (Airborne) based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Brady will be the first female in the elite organization’s history to serve in this position.

“The 112th Special Operations Signal Battalion is an extremely prestigious unit with a great reputation across the Army,” Brady said. “It is an incredible opportunity to serve in the 112th Signal Battalion and to do so as their command sergeant major is an extreme honor.”

Information Technology Career Field

Brady had the foresight when joining the Army to realize that the information technology career field would be an important specialty both within the Army and in the civilian world.

“At the time I enlisted, computers and information technology were fairly new,” Brady said. “I wanted to do something that would translate into good job prospects while serving and also following my military service.”

Throughout numerous assignments across the globe, Brady honed her skills and steadily moved up the enlisted ranks serving in a number of key leader positions. She served as the first female squadron sergeant major for the 3rd Joint Communications Squadron of the Joint Communications Support Element in Tampa in Florida before becoming the unit’s Brigade Operations Sergeant Major.

“JCSE has been an integral assignment for me as it has provided me broader experiences enabling me to reach this next milestone in my career,” Brady said.

She added, “My experience at JCSE has definitely left me better prepared for the 112th Signal Battalion as their missions are somewhat similar. Both organizations provide rapidly deployable, early entry and scalable communications to the commanders they serve.”

Each unit also provides their service members experience in operating and maintaining an array of unique equipment not normally used by conventional joint service counterparts, Brady said.

In addition, both JCSE and the 112th Signal Battalion are airborne units, bringing a unique and valuable benefit to joint force commanders, she said. There are very few airborne units in the U.S. military that provide communications support to special operations forces, making JCSE Signal Brigade and the 112th Signal Battalion part of an elite group.

Brady attended airborne school in 1997 and serves as a jumpmaster at JCSE which has effectively prepared her for the transition to the 112th Signal Battalion.

“It’s an honor to be able to stay in an airborne unit -- especially one with such a significant history like the 112th Signal Battalion,” she said.

Gender Not a Factor

Brady’s selection as the command sergeant major of the 112th Signal Battalion was conducted through the Army’s centralized selection board, which identifies the most qualified senior noncommissioned officers for forecasted positions in the next fiscal year.

“When I competed on last fall’s Command Select Board, I was excited to see the 112th Signal Battalion as an option,” Brady said. “I very quickly identified the 112th Signal Battalion as my first choice if selected as a primary on the Command Select List.”

Brady was excited to learn just a few months later that she had received her first choice.

“I am extremely honored and privileged to be selected to serve as a command sergeant major but especially fortunate for the opportunity to be the 112th Signal Battalion’s command sergeant major,” Brady said. “I believe that selection for this position, as with others across the Army, was made by determining who best met the needs of the organization based on their training and experience level regardless of race, creed, color or gender.”