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Army Reserve officer reflects on MLK’s inspiration

By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris | 99th Readiness Division | Jan. 25, 2018

JOINT BASE McGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — U.S. Army Reserve Maj. LaKisha Hale, recently reflected on inspiration she has taken from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout her life and career.

“I’m from Columbus, Ohio, and every year they hold the largest sit-down breakfast celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” said Hale, who serves as the Reserve Personnel Action Center command liaison for the U.S. Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division. “I remember the first time I went, I was probably about 11 or 12 years old, and I got to meet all these people with such humble beginnings who went on to be great pillars of the community.

“These are folks who were dirt poor, who had to share school books with their classmates, and these people went on to earn Ph.D.s and achieve wonderful things, and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, if these people can do these things with humble beginnings, I can do it, too,’” she added.

Despite Hale’s own humble beginnings, she has persevered to become a field-grade officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

“I went to ROTC on scholarship, but my mother got sick and I had to quit school so they let me out of my scholarship, but I still wanted to be an officer,” Hale explained. “Here I am years later, a major in the United States Army.

“It doesn’t matter what you’re up against, you look to figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to give you inspiration to pursue your dream until you achieve it, and once you achieve it, you make a new dream and you go for that,” she added.

Hale said the Army provides a unique venue in which she and others can pursue their dreams, despite the many factors that often divide people rather than unite them.

“Being in the Army, it’s so diverse, you can see people from all walks of life - you have people who grew up poor, you have people who grew up well-off but they still had the desire to serve, and you have people from all races, creeds, genders,” she said.

From her inner-city roots to becoming a leader in the Army Reserve, Hale and others like her who pursue their dreams and promote inclusivity are what help make America’s Army Reserve the most capable, combat-ready and lethal federal reserve force in the nation’s history.

“It’s about being able to look to your left and your right and seeing people who look like you, or seeing people who don’t necessarily look like you but face different challenges from you, and seeing us all achieve something that is great, and all getting to work together to help each other,” she said. “Just looking back to those individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and everything they were able to achieve in their lifetimes, how can you not be inspired by that?”