VICENZA, Italy — After almost seven years in the Army, one 21st Theater Sustainment Command Soldier has decided to return to school full time, and she will do it with the Army’s support.
Sgt. Shakisha Lawson, a finance specialist with Echo Detachment, 106th Financial Management Company based in Vicenza, Italy, has been awarded a Green to Gold hip pocket scholarship to attend the University of Tampa where she will earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her commission as an officer.
“I decided to do the Green to Gold program because I would like to become an officer and this program allows me to do that and at the same time obtain my bachelor’s degree,” Sergeant Lawson said. “Also, I’ll be stable for three years and I can spend more time with my kids.”
The Green to Gold hip pocket scholarship is different from other Green to Gold options because recipients are nominated by their division commanders based on the applicant’s potential to serve the Army as a commissioned officer.
“When she told me she wanted to apply, I knew without a doubt that she would be an excellent candidate,” said Capt. Amanda Miller, rear detachment commander, Echo Detachment, 106th Financial Management Company, who recommended her for the program. “From what I had seen of her performance, she stood out as one of the most competent non-commissioned officers I had served with. I knew she would make an excellent officer, and I was very supportive of her decision to apply for Green to Gold.”
In order to apply for the program, Soldiers must submit an application, be accepted into the Reserve Officer Training Corps program and be accepted into the school they want to attend. They also must complete a checklist, which illustrates their abilities as a scholar, athlete and leader. Some of the things the applicant can do to demonstrate their proficiencies are to be an honor graduate or on the commandant’s list of a non-commissioned officer education school, score 270 or above on the Army Physical Fitness Test with a minimum of 90 points in each event, and be selected as Soldier/NCO of the Quarter or Year at battalion level or higher.
For Sergeant Lawson, doing the Green to Gold program means leaving the NCO corps, but it also means using the things she learned as an NCO when she becomes an officer.
“I took pride in taking care of Soldiers as an NCO, but the things that I learned as an NCO will help me become a great officer,” she said.
Although Sergeant Lawson is getting ready to start an exciting new part of her life, her unit is a little sad to see her go.
“It has absolutely been a pleasure having Sergeant Lawson in my unit. She is very intelligent and extremely hard working. She is a wonderful person to be around and is very professional and personable with both customers and other members of the Italy Finance Office.
Captain Miller said even though the rear detachment is under-manned and still supporting a full-strength military community, Sergeant Lawson never complained about working several jobs or always staying late to accomplish the mission.
“She has been an invaluable asset to our finance office, and it is going to be very hard on us when she departs,” Captain Miller said.
For more information on the program, contact your unit’s career counselor.