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Nash soldier encourages youths to enlist in Army

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A longtime, high-ranking soldier from Nashville is encouraging young folks who haven’t decided on a direction in life to follow her into the Army.

Command Sgt. Maj. Lynice D. Thorpe-Noel is squared away as they come, but she says it wasn’t always that way.

“I had went to college for a couple of years and knew I didn’t want to do that anymore, I was looking for something else,” Thorpe-Noel said in a June 30 phone interview.

Thorpe-Noel said she wanted something more out of life, but didn’t have any job skills and didn’t know a trade. Then she remembered meeting a soldier when she was around 10, and she still recalls how that impression had stuck with her.

“I went to the recruiter,” Thorpe-Noel said. “I wanted to succeed. I remember telling everyone, ‘I’m joining the Army.’ It meant health care, 30 days paid time off and ‘I get a check.”

Thorpe-Noel said young adults looking for direction should seriously consider enlistment.

“You don’t have to sign up for life,” Thorpe-Noel said. “But there’s life-changing opportunities and options.”

Thorpe-Noel joined the Army in October 1989. In her three decades of service, she’s been stationed at 14 locations, including four tours in Germany. She’s been overseas at least half a dozen times, spending time in Portugal, Hungary and the Middle East. In the U.S., her favorite places are Hawaii and San Diego, Texas.

“I made the most out of it,” Thorpe-Noel said. “I saw it as a second change, and I was going to get it right.”

Thorpe-Noel’s numerous medals include the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star. She also got around to finishing college as well with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management and leadership studies.

Thorpe-Noel spoke out about her experiences as part of a three-day hiring blitz that ended last week. Known as Army National Hiring Days, the national campaign sought to recruit 10,000 new soldiers.

Army officials are calling the military a leadership laboratory, saying corporate America is looking for leaders and the Army is adept at developing them. 

In addition to leadership development, there are financial incentives for folks who join the Army.

For more information on the opportunities and benefits of U.S. Army service, visit www.goarmy.com. Recruitment is ongoing.