Pfc. Cassie Hannah

Unit: 54th Quartermaster Company, 11th Transportation Battalion, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary)

Military occupational specialty: 92M – mortuary affairs specialist. According to www.goarmy.com, these professionals perform duties related to the recovery/collection and evacuation of deceased personnel.

Age: 29

Hometown: Lucedale, Miss.

Time in service: one year

Describe yourself: “I’m a little reserved and not much of a talker. Some people like to say I’m shy. I don’t talk until I have to. I don’t like to be the center of attention.”

How you spend your free time: “I spend it doing things with my family.”

What would surprise people about you? “Actually, volunteering to throw myself out into the public eye. I usually have to be told to do something like that (laugh).  Throwing myself out there … it’s something I’m trying to prove to myself to try to overcome things I typically wouldn’t do.”

Worst fear: “Besides reptiles … I would have to say death.”

Pet peeve: “I don’t like being around annoying people or being questioned a lot.”

The talent you wished you had: “I wish I could draw.”

Dream car: “It would have to be a Cadillac or Audi.”

The historical figure or celebrity you’d like to meet: “Beyoncé (singer and entertainer) – I once saw her in concert and just loved her. As far as a historical figure, it would have to be Sojourner Truth (the abolitionist). For a lot of the things she believed in, she never gave up no matter how many times she failed.”

If you could do anything, anywhere right now, what and where would that be? “I would go home to Mississippi. There’s a lot of churches in my area where I lived, and if I could help them with fundraising or anything like that, I’d do it.”

One challenge married Soldiers face: “For myself, being married to a civilian who doesn’t know much about the military and getting him to understand the things I have to do (as a Soldier).”

One life-changing experience: “That would have to be the death of my brother. Besides my grandparents, that was the closest death I’ve had to experience. It actually gave me a direction on what I wanted to do with my life. I was in the 11th grade at the time. Seeing firsthand how the criminal justice system actually worked, it motivated me to want to help those who need it. No one was ever convicted for (the death) of my brother and his girlfriend, but it showed me I want to work for those who don’t receive justice.”

Why you joined the Army: “I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and prove I could do something a lot of people – especially family members – didn’t expect I could do. I wanted something better for my family.”

Why you chose your MOS: “Since my brother’s death, it’s been rather intriguing to me how a person can be here one day and the next day they’re not. Like I said, I want to work in the criminal justice system. I felt like being around death could somewhat get me used to that type of job.”

Most rewarding about your MOS: “Bringing those remains home and getting them ready for their families.”

What it means to serve your country: “It’s an honor. Sometimes, people say, ‘Thanks for your service.’ I don’t feel the need to be thanked for something that should be done. I really can’t put into words when you sacrifice so much. Being around my family all my life, then going away and doing something beyond myself, it’s not about me but making this country a better place.”

A good Soldier is someone who ... “wants to be a Soldier. I feel like a lot of people do this for the benefits or they think it’s better than going to school. I’ve heard a lot of that since I’ve been in the Army … you know those who want to do this and those who are doing it just for the benefits.”

A good leader is …“someone who cares for their Soldiers. Just because you have the rank doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a leader.”

Best thing about the Army: “It’s like additional family outside of your own. There are people in it that go out of their way to help you.”

Worst thing about the Army: “Those who are in it just for the benefits and don’t care about what we’re actually doing. They’re here collecting a paycheck.”

Future plans: “Professionally, I want to stay in the military. At first I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this MOS, and I’m reclassifying as soon as I get the chance.’ The longer I served, I realized what we do is important and that it’s something a lot of people won’t do. I came to love it. I see myself staying in the MOS as well as the military as long as I can. Personally, I’m a couple of classes away from my bachelor’s degree. I want to finish that and maybe get my master’s. Also, I want to continue to be a mother and wife, and do the best I can.”