November 13, 2016 –
SAN ANTONIO – As the streets of downtown San Antonio fill with spectators to watch the U.S. Military Veterans Parade & Wreath Laying at the Alamo, a different group of spectators begin to embark upon the Alamodome for the ‘Army versus Irish’ college football game.
The United States Military Academy at West Point alumni, young and old, gather at local establishments to reminisce about their college days, exchange Soldier stories and enjoy the festivities.
One of the Black Knights was U.S. Army Reserve Col. Brandi Bryan Peasley, currently serving as the commander with the Special Troops Brigade, 63rd Regional Support Command. Peasley is a 1994 graduate of the USMA.
Every year the prestigious military service academy welcomes over 1,000 cadet candidates. Each candidate’s desire upon entering the academy is their own but all graduates walk away prepared to take on a board base of challenges, ready to serve the Army and the nation.
“The biggest thing I learned while attending West Point was the basics of leadership and team work,” said Peasley. “It is so important to communicate with your peers and your Soldiers, to make sure that everyone is on the same sheet of music, people understand what the mission is and we are all focused on the same goal.”
Peasley’s education and active duty career served as essential building blocks as she transitioned to her new career as an U.S. Army Reserve Soldier.
“For me leadership is leadership, no matter where you are and being a Soldier is being a Soldier whether you are Active duty, Reserve, National Guard, [Individualized Mobilized Augmentee], [Active Guard Reserve] - they are all the same no matter what component you are in,” said Peasley.
“I just think in the Army Reserve and National Guard you just have to put that much more effort in to make sure that you communicate and reach out to folks,” said Peasley. “Because you are not there all the time together.”
Following graduation, West Point graduates enter their chosen Army branch as an officer to fulfill their five-year active Army commitment.
“I left Active Duty in 1999 with no intent to return to the Army,” she recalls. “And then 9/11 happened. That very day I said, ‘I’m coming back in uniform because I felt the calling.’”
At that time, she lived in San Antonio and had established her civilian career. She found a local Reserve unit and in January 2002 she was one of the newest members of the 345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.
In her current command position, Peasley leads staff and 21 detachments including three high-profile Army bands, three Public Affairs headquarters – which includes the 345th PAD - and a new unit supporting III Corps headquarters.
In addition to her many roles in life, Peasley is also her class president which allows her to bring together fellow alumni including her husband and son.
“I try to keep in touch with all my friends, classmates and Soldiers that I have worked with – it’s my life, it’s what I do. I really enjoy the Army mission,” she said. “I am so glad that I was able to make a positive thing out of 9/11 by coming back in and being in the Army Reserve.”
San Antonio has one of the nation's largest active and retired military populations which is why it is commonly referred to as Military City USA. Every year since 1970 the city has come together for events like the West Point Tailgate.
The celebrations occur during the month of November to honor the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the country’s Armed Forces during a two-week celebration of events.