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Face of Defense: Immigrant Serves Adopted Country

By Army Spc. Eugene H. Cushing
Special to American Forces Press Service

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Oct. 28, 2009 – A native of China’s Fujian province who was not in the United States long before she decided to serve her adopted country says the dedication of her fellow soldiers helps to inspire her own service.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Spc. Meirong Wang hands out mail at her forward operating base in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. A native of China's Fujian province, Wang serves with Task Force Mountain Warrior. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Melissa Milner
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army Spc. Meirong Wang was about to finish her college degree and start teaching high school physics when she was granted the opportunity to leave China and travel to the United States.

“When you see a different country, it’s not about the country or the area, it’s about the people,” she said of her decision to leave China. “People are brave to stand up for the things [they] want to fight for.”

Wang said she is proud to be here, and cited the discipline required in the military as something that makes it different from any other career.

“As long as you maintain discipline, you want to do better,” she said. A human resources specialist for Task Force Mountain Warrior’s 4th Special Troops Battalion, Wang uses her discipline to better herself every day.

“Specialist Wang makes my job easy,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason A. Coulter, Wang’s noncommissioned officer in charge. “Her work ethic, attention to detail and willingness to take on responsibilities [make her] the type of soldier leaders want and the Army needs.”

Though Wang’s discipline and desire to do better drive her every day, Coulter said, she still faces some challenges as she works to overcome the language barrier.

“Specialist Wang has identified that as a weakness, and has improved her English tremendously,” he said. “As leaders, we identify our weaknesses and seek self-improvement. Wang has many characteristics of a leader, and that is just one of them.”

Wang attributes much of her success to her fellow soldiers and leaders.

In the process that led to her being named as Task Force Mountain Warrior’s soldier of the quarter, Wang had to face many challenges and her teammates helped her to prepare. Even though the competition was an individual event, she noted, it still took a team effort for her be selected.

“So many people stood behind me and supported me,” Wang said, adding that her leaders want her to be a good leader as well.

“They also tell my comrades we need to support each other to be good leaders,” she said.

Coulter proudly recalled how Wang’s fellow soldiers helped her prepare for the evaluation board.

“Specialist Wang and her co-workers pulled together as a team; they went to the gym together, woke up early and did physical training,” he said. “And the team drilled her with evaluation board questions daily.”

The support paid off in Wang’s selection as soldier of the quarter.

“There’s no way I could win this board without everyone here,” she said. Coulter said it’s typical of Wang to give credit to her leadership and fellow soldiers.

“She is an unselfish soldier [who] exemplifies selfless service,” he said.

(Army Spc. Eugene H. Cushing serves in the Task Force Mountain Warrior public affairs office.)

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