Know Your Military

Face of Defense: A 'Shot' Toward Success

May 15, 2019

Every soldier in the Army has to train and be proficient with their weapon. But 2nd Lt.  Amber English takes it to a whole new level.

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Army 2nd Lt.  Amber English
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Unit: Army Marksmanship Unit
Stationed: Fort Benning, Georgia
Job Title: Shooter-Instructor

What made you want to become a shooter? Or what happened that led to you becoming a shooter?

I came from a long family history with shooting, so after I decided to put my gymnastics career aside, it was kind of a natural thing to get into. I am the only one to compete in shotgun, though, so that has been fun! I started a little later in shooting compared to a lot of my other competitors, but having an athletic background helped a lot. … And shooting hurt a lot less than gymnastics did, haha!

A female soldier in camouflage uniform poses with a shotgun at the firing line.
Gun Range
Army 2nd Lt. Amber English poses with her competition shotgun at the Army Marksmanship Unit complex.
Photo By: Courtesy photo by Army 2nd Lt. Amber English
VIRIN: 190506-A-BY943-691

You were the resident athlete at the Olympic center. Why leave such an amazing environment for the Army?

Although I loved my time spent at the Olympic Training Center, I always went back and forth with the idea of joining the Army. I traveled and trained with a lot of the guys who were already in the AMU, so it was a good transition for me. Any time you can take a chance to broaden your horizons, you should try it! I'm very happy with the choice I made, and honestly wish I joined earlier!  

Three women stand on a winner’s podium.
Winner's Podium
Army 2nd Lt. Amber English, right, shows off her medal on the podium after a 2018 victory in competition.
Photo By: Courtesy photo by Army 2nd Lt. Amber English
VIRIN: 190510-A-BY943-730

What kind of training and practicing does it truly take to compete at your level and be an Olympian?

It takes a lot of practice, and the ability to self-reflect. Needless to say, I've been shooting for a while, and I still learn something new every competition I go to. The self-reflection part makes it a little easier to take a step back and figure stuff out when you need to make adjustments to the game. When I first started shooting, I put in a lot of repetition to help. But now I've tweaked that into more of quality vs. quantity.

A woman aims a shotgun.
Taking Aim
Army 2nd Lt. Amber English takes aim with her shotgun.
Photo By: Courtesy photo by Army 2nd Lt. Amber English
VIRIN: 190506-A-BY943-488L

How would you encourage other women to do something like this as a competitor and maybe a soldier?

Just try it! I think a lot of people go through life wondering or waiting for opportunities to arise instead of going out, getting out of their comfort zone and  learning something new! It's easy to sit back and be complacent. There are so many avenues to learn now. All it takes is reaching out to someone who knows about it and some grit to give it a try. As for the Army, it was the best decision I've made, and I'm very happy I did it. It is a job with great benefits — for you and your family — and I have made lifelong friendships out of it.

Female soldier in camouflage uniform poses with her shotgun.
Army Unit
Army 2nd Lt. Amber English poses with her shotgun at the Army Marksmanship Unit complex.
Photo By: Courtesy photo by Army 2nd Lt. Amber English
VIRIN: 180925-A-BY943-642

What is your favorite hobby outside of shooting?

One thing I've gotten away from since joining the Army is working as a paramedic. I miss that fast-paced medical aspect, so I am working to potentially get involved in that again in my community. I grew up hunting and fishing in the Rocky Mountains, so I really enjoy outdoor adventures! I also love just hanging with friends on any patio!

Woman poses with her horse.
Home Horse
Army 2nd Lt. Amber English poses with her horse at home before she joined the Army.
Photo By: Courtesy photo by Army 2nd Lt. Amber English
VIRIN: 190506-A-BY943-438Q

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is being able to share my experiences with kids and people! Shooting has granted me the opportunity to represent the Army and my country on a different stage. I have been able to expand my worldview and appreciate what I have, as well as meet and make a lot of friends along the way!

Female soldier in camouflage uniform poses with her shotgun on her back.
Marksmanship Complex
Army 2nd Lt. Amber English poses with her competition shotgun at the Army Marksmanship Unit complex.
Photo By: Courtesy photo by Army 2nd Lt. Amber English
VIRIN: 190506-A-BY943-742

Video By Army Staff Sgt. Edwin Pierce, DOD