Maj. Dolores Bryant described her recent graduation from the Command and General Staff College as 'surreal.'
Maj. Dolores Bryant described her recent graduation from the Command and General Staff College as ‘surreal.’
She was involved in JROTC all four years at Leavenworth High School, was a member of the unarmed drill team, her father served in the Army, her brother and sister have served in the Army Reserves, but she had no desire to join the military.
That all changed in her senior year when the reality of post-high school life edged closer and she began worrying about how she would pay for college.
Her decision to join the military not only ensured financial help for college, it also provided her with a degree from one of the most prestigious and storied military schools in the world.
After Delores and her family moved to Leavenworth when she was 9-years-old, she met many military families over the years and she was aware of CGSC’s long history and prominence. “ To be among the ranks of others such as Colin Powell, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George S. Patton is humbling. The Army sends the top 50 percent of promotable captains and majors to CGSC so I don’t take the opportunity lightly,” said Delores.
Her journey through CGSC was not without challenges, but Delores had a large support system at the college and friends and instructors provided the resources she needed to see her through. “The courses were nothing I couldn’t handle, though they certainly kept me busy. I did find a new appreciation for history during my time at CGSC. The history department and the instructors at CGSC are top-notch,” said Delores.
One of her biggest pillars of support and role models is her mother. “She is positive, strong, and supportive. I can always trust her to put things into perspective. She always reminds me of where I have come from and the various challenges and adversities I have overcome to get to where I am today.”
Although Delores says the military is not free of challenges for women, she thinks military members are very supportive and she believes it’s very empowering to see women such as LTG Nadja West serving as the first female African-American three-star general in US Army history. “It gives me hope that we will continue to see women serving at the most senior levels of our military, said Delores.
She also thinks great progress is being made with combat arms branches opened for women in recent years. “We’ve also seen several women graduate from Ranger School in the last few years,” said Delores. “Though I would like to see the time where it is commonplace and is the norm. We are getting there but that will take time.”
While Delores joined the military to be able to pursue higher education, after 12 years devoted to obtaining a bachelor degree and two masters degrees she has come away with a new perspective on the benefits of military service. She believes education opportunities are an enticing benefit for many who join the military, but for Delores there is much more that has been gained by her experience. “There are so many positive character traits the military hones in its members. Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honesty, integrity, personal courage are the values our force holds most important.”
While she intended to fulfill her four-year commitment and then leave the military, Delores says ‘God had other plans for me.” She is heading to Washington D.C. to the Pentagon and is branched FA-49 (Operations Research System Analyst) and will work on the Army G8 Staff with the Program Analysis and Evaluation Directorate. Her goal is to serve honorably and make her family proud. Most importantly, she wants to make a difference in the lives of the people she serves with. “Taking care of soldiers has always been important to me,” said Delores.
She says the most satisfying moments in her military career so far have been the amazing people that she has met along the way, both in and out of the military. And her advice for young people considering a military career is to not judge the military based off one assignment or another person’s experience. Her best advice for a successful and fulfilling experience is “Come into the military with an open mind.”