A Look at America’s Newest Generation of Fighting Men and Women

Name:  Pfc. Nakisha Simon

Unit:  58th Quartermaster Company, 240th QM Battalion, 49th QM Group

MOS:  92L – petroleum laboratory specialist

Time in service:  four years

Age:  22

Hometown:  Dominica

Family:  parents, Margaret-Rose Raymond and Gary Vincent Simon

Background: Simon, who speaks with a slight West Indian accent, is a native of a small island country in the Caribbean. She has been in the United States since she was a teenager, and in many ways, is still learning to adjust. Since joining the Army, she said she has many positive experiences and a few that were not so positive. Nonetheless, she has learned from all them, she said.

Pastimes:  “Taking college courses (business marketing-sales), working out and sometimes baby-sitting for friends.”

Recent accomplishments:  “I received my citizenship and I was part of the remembrance ceremony for fallen Soldiers in Washington, D.C. (held Sept. 19, 2008).  I felt honored.  I didn’t know how big it was going to be.  It was a huge event.  I wanted to cry.”

Worst fear:  “Losing my mom.  She’s everything to me.  She and my aunt (Eleanor Raymond) have always given me good guidance, and they’ve always been 100 percent supportive.”

Biggest regret:  “Not having a good relationship with my father.  I held little grudges against him when I was younger.  When I was a teenager, he was trying to be a part of my life, but I didn’t give him the time of day.  I’m trying to build a better relationship with him now.  It’s better late than never.”

Pet Peeve:  “When someone asks me the same question over and over.  It’s real irritating.”

One life-changing event:  “When I got in a car accident (last year).  It all happened so fast.  I had an out of body experience.  I saw that the accident was going to happen, but I couldn’t do anything about it.  At the point of impact, I saw my whole life flash in front of me. If I hadn’t had a seat belt on, I would have gone straight through the window.  When I was in the hospital, all my NCOs came to visit and my commander made sure my personal affairs were taken care.  There were some people that I didn’t get along with in my old company.  They called to see how I was doing and told me if I needed anything, to just give them a call.  It made me open my eyes a bit.  There are people who care about you.  I was new to the company (her current unit), and they treated me like family.  I felt good about that.  There were also some people who I thought were my friends, but when I really needed them, they weren’t there.  Before the accident, I was a little anti-social but after the accident, I have a better appreciation for life and the people in my life.”

What does your citizenship mean to you?:  “It opens up a lot of opportunities, especially when it comes to employment. I feel like I belong now, and I can salute the flag knowing I belong.”

What was it like living in Dominica and why did you leave?: “It’s a beautiful island.  It has a lot of natural resources, and the sand is black.  It comes from volcanic rock. We left because, my family wanted a change, to see what the world was all about.”

Talk about your deployment to Iraq (2006-2007):  “I thought it would be difficult to handle (once she arrived in country).  Looking at TV, you think that everyone is dangerous, but when it comes down to it, they are just like us and want the same things.  I learned a lot from people, and they learned from me as well.  I am a stronger person, and I handle things better in different situations.  Also, you can take life here for granted, but when you get over there, you see how much they want the things that we have.” 

Best thing about the Army:  “The experiences – the things you learn and the people you meet.  The Army is a learning environment.”

If I wasn’t in the Army:  “I think I would be struggling to get a job, maybe laid off and I would be in school.”

What makes a good Soldier:  “Somebody who embodies all the Army values.”

Why you want to be a leader:   “I think I bring a lot to the table, and I know I can get the job done.  Those are things I know I can pass on to subordinates, and I’m a good listener.”

The Army Value most important to you:   “Selfless service.  I go out of my way most times to make sure everyone has what they need, whether it’s a Soldier or NCO.  I always get the job done.”

Motivations to serve: “Making a difference.  When I put on my uniform, I’m serving family and the country.” 

Goals: “I’m really thinking about making the military a career.  It’s a lot of work, but I’d like to be a sergeant major one day.  I also want to open up a business-marketing franchise that would support humanitarian needs around the world.”

Compiled by T. Anthony Bell

  Editor’s note:  America’s Military is a weekly column featuring military members who are committed to their profession and serve with pride.  If you know a military member deserving of this recognition, call (804) 734-6948 or e-mail terrance.bell@us.army.mil