Drive On Sgt. Morales!


While we’re all focused on the big V.P. debate tonight, where Saracuda will be eating Joe Biden’s lunch before going on to be the first Vice-President of The United States of America, another woman is quietly making history but is no less deserving of our respect and admiration. Sgt. Lisa Morales is poised to be the first woman in U.S. Army history to win the coveted Best Warrior award.

From the Arizona Daily Star:

The Fort Huachuca soldier, who stands 5-feet-4 and weighs 120 pounds, is competing this week in what the Army calls its “Super Bowl” — the first time a woman has been a contender for the service’s seventh-annual Best Warrior award.

She’s aiming to out-shoot, outrun, out-wrestle and outmaneuver nearly two dozen male competitors, some of whom are heads taller and outweigh her by 80 pounds or more.

“It’s hard. It’s very hard,” said Morales, 23, in a phone interview Wednesday after a day of competition at Fort Lee in Virginia. She had just finished hiking five miles wearing a 63-pound rucksack — essentially carrying more than half her body weight on her back.
“I’m exhausted. I’ve got a lot of blisters. And in 15 minutes, I get to go out and do it again!” she said with a laugh.

Morales, who was born in Tucson and spent her early childhood here before moving to Sierra Vista, is living a dream that was months in the making.

She has trained six to eight hours a day for the last six months, she said, and she won at various levels of Army competition to make it to the finals.

The Southern Arizona sun was still asleep when she’d hit the ground running each morning. After that followed hours of weight lifting, shooting practice, hand-to-hand combat and boning up on Army rules to prepare for the written and oral tests that are part of the competition.

When her unit, the fort’s 11th Signal Brigade, was sent overseas in December, Morales went too, and worked out by doing push-ups and sit-ups and running laps around their base in Kuwait. In June, the Army sent her home to prepare for the competition.

Fellow soldiers still at war have been sending encouragement across the miles, she said.
“They send me e-mails telling me how proud they are. They want me to go all the way, so hopefully I can make it happen.”

Local soldiers are rooting for Morales, too, said Eric Hortin, spokesman for the Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command, which oversees the 11th Signal Brigade.

“All of us here are cheering her on, and many of us know she’s going to win this,” Hortin predicted.

Morales says she also draws inspiration from her siblings. She is raising a 15-year-old sister and has a 25-year-old brother, Pfc. Stephen Chaires, serving in Iraq with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division. Her contest performance “is a tribute to him,” she said.

Well done! Despite screeching to the contrary American women are clearly enjoying a level of freedom and respect no other country affords and in return are making us proud by excelling in all walks of life. Like Sarah Palin Morales is a shining example of the character, strength and dignity that is the best part of America.

Good luck Sarge, we’ll be rooting for you.