FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 21, 2016) -- Name: Sgt. Casey Raza

Unit: 508th Transportation Company, 266th Quartermaster Battalion

MOS: 88M – motor transport operator

Age: 24

Time in Service: five years

Hometown: Moyock, N.C.

Family: single

Background: Sgt. Casey M. Raza was reared in Moyock but later moved to the Tampa, Fla., area. She has been a member of competitive athletic groups a good part of her life, including the Wiregrass Ranch High School softball team in Wesley Chapel, Fla. On the military side, Raza spent a lot of time with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. – as her distinctly-shaped beret indicates – and her experiences there continue to shape her persona and military career. Additionally, she said she is ambitious, “very open and honest,” and has a short temper but does not “let it show.”

Pet peeve: “Not being honest; beating around the bush or just not being direct ... that’s one way to get me fired up.”

Worst fear: “Causing someone to lose his or her life based on something I did. If I were speeding in a car and got in an accident, lived through it but killed someone – that is one of my biggest fears.”

Greatest hope: “To retire from the Army in 25 years as a sergeant major. That’s my only goal in life at this point.”

One lesson you like sharing with others: “Don’t take things for granted.”

The person you were before you became a Soldier: “I was an athletic jock; I was all about sports and about the team; I was that jock who walked around high school just as proud as could be to wear the uniform and go out to play softball, soccer or whatever sport – I was excited. That’s who I was.”

The historical figure or celebrity you would like to meet: “Rhonda Rousey because of the way she carries herself; the way she came up from being in judo to MMA, and the way she represents herself in being a role model for females.”

The music on your iPod: “Country music – Luke Bryan. I love his voice and how he carries on about anything he sings about.”

Dream car: “A Ford Mustang. I kind of like the old style, but I also like the 2016. It brings the old and new together.”

The one person you most admire: “My mom. My parents separated before I was seeing things as a baby. Watching her – working two jobs, raising kids and going through relationship problems – to give us the best life we could ask for.”

One defining moment: “I would say coming back off deployment (from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg in 2012). You grow up watching Soldiers leave and come home, but when it’s you getting on that bird and getting off that bird – back onto home ground – is like … the crowd is going crazy and your parents are there, everybody is waving little American flags and the unit is marching in. It was like one of those moments – wow! I was really proud of myself.”

Why you joined the Army: “In my junior year of high school, I signed up for the Delayed Entry Program. In my senior year, during the softball season, I felt like it was my moment to shine, it being my last year. I started getting emails from college coaches, and it was at that point I said ‘Let me to talk to my recruiter to see if I can prolong (going into the Army), but they informed me I had already enlisted. (Note: Raza was offered a full scholarship to the University of Florida, but had to turn it down due to her military obligations). So, I said ‘I can do Army softball,’ but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it wouldn’t happen. I was heartbroken, honestly I was, but two months later, I was like ‘This is a new beginning for me.’ I had worked all the way up to that point, now it was time for a new beginning.”

What it means to serve your country: “It’s something special. I like it and enjoy what I do. For me personally, I like giving back. I got to grow up in the land of the free; there are those who died before me who contributed to that freedom. It’s my way of giving back and making sure kids today have the same freedoms I had.”

What you love about your MOS: “Driving the big trucks.”

Toughest part of your job: “Making sure I set the right example for the Soldiers below me; to make sure they don’t see toxic leadership and they have that pride to serve.”

What you try to instill in junior Soldiers: “To keep striving for what they want. If they really want the Army to be what they want it to be, then they have to make it what they want. Work your way up and make the changes you want to make.”

Best thing about the Army: “The opportunities. If you are a cashier at a store, someone may never see your potential. You may have what it takes to be the store manager, but if they don’t see it, you won’t get that promotion or if you do one wrong thing, you get fired. When they see potential in the Army, you get promoted, you get schools or a better assignment.”

Worst thing about the Army: “The uniforms. Every time the uniform changes, you have to go out and buy a new one. When the new uniforms came out, I spent $500 and that didn’t include boots.”

Future plans: “I plan to get my bachelor’s degree in the next two or three years. I just started on it. I’m also going to recruiter school because I was selected for recruiting duty. After that, I want to become a drill sergeant; then I want to go back to Fort Bragg, jump out of airplanes again and make sergeant major.”