In the United States Army, the term “commander” is officially applied to the commanding officer of a unit; hence, there are company commanders, battalion commanders and brigade commanders.
On June 6, at a ceremony at General’s Field, Honolulu, Hawaii, a young Filipino-American Captain in the US Army was promoted to the position of Company Commander.
Company Commander Susan Barroga Lindsey is now in charge of the Intelligence & Sustainment Company for the US Army 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii.
As a major ground reserve force for the US Pacific Command, the US Army 25th Infantry or “Tropic Lightning” Division has been actively deployed to protect America and her allies in Asia since 1941.
The 25th Infantry fought during World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan and routinely deploys troops to participate in exercises in Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia and its base in Hawaii.
It is composed of the following units: the Intelligence & Sustainment Company which Lindsey commands, the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Operations Company, Signal Company and the Division Band.
Susan Barroga Lindsey is the daughter of a Filipina, Concepcion “Connie” Barroga ( a native of Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Philippines) and American Floyd Dean Lindsey, of Buckeye, Arizona.
Connie Barroga immigrated to America more than 30 years ago and settled in California, where she married Floyd Lindsey, who was with the US Army before he became a computer manufacturer in Northern California.
According to a news article in the Inquirer.net, Susan was born in October 1983 in Mountain View, CA, and raised in San Jose.
She attended Columbia School in Sunnyvale and Lynbrook High School in Cupertino, CA.
In 1988, when Susan was only five years old, her father died. He left Connie to single-handedly raise Susan and her brother,Romel.
“Growing up, I watched her struggle and work hard as a single mother to give my brother and me a better life,” Susan told the Inquirer.
“By her example, she taught me never to give up, to strive to be the best I could be. Because of her, I am proud of my heritage, and I am proud to serve the country that made my mother a citizen.”
A greater purpose
Susan studied at the San Diego State University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in psychology.
She then enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 2006 and served with the 4-16th Civil Affairs (USACAPOC)(A) Army Reserve while continuing her education. She was commissioned as an Army Officer in 2008 while obtaining a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
After enlisting in the Army, Susan learned, for the first time, that on her father’s side of the family comes a long line of service men, dating back to the American Revolutionary War.
She told Hawaii Public Radio: “It made me so proud to be the first woman in my family serving in the Armed Forces. I feel like I am fighting for my mom.”
Susan revealed that she joined the Army because she wanted to do something more with her life, and be someone more.
“It was no overnight success. I sacrificed my time with my family and friends. Worked late nights and early mornings and studied hard. I committed to a greater purpose–serving my country and my fellow Americans,” she told the Inquirer.
In 2009, Susan completed the Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. She was then assigned as the Signal Intelligence Platoon Leader for the Military Intelligence Company of the First Brigade, First Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.
From November 2009- August 2010, Susan was deployed in Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When she returned, she was assigned as the Assistant Battalion S2 for the 4-17th Stryker Infantry Battalion. After attending the Military Intelligence Captains Career Course in 2012 at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, Susan became the Intelligence Operations Officer to the 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, (94th Army Air Missile Defense Command), at Joint Pearl Harbor-Hickam Air Force Base. This was her assignment prior to being promoted to Commander.
Susan’s active field duty in Iraq made a dramatic impact on her life.
In an interview with Hawaii Public Radio last year (entitled Seeing ‘Courage and Strength’ Through The Eyes of Soldiers) Susan shared her thoughts about her war experiences.
Talking about soldiers suffering from post-stress traumatic disorder, Susan said: “I know what it’s like to be up for 48 hours and then sleep for six, It really comes down to having to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. It didn’t matter whether you were deployed 2 months or 18 months. It didn’t matter whether you were in direct combat or in maintenance. When you come back, you’re already a different person. You have trouble sleeping, eating, sitting still. When you go there, your comforts are taken away from you- your family- they’re not there. There are things I missed; simple things like carpet on the floor or being able to put a flower on your hair. In addition to being in a hostile war zone, you have expectations and huge responsibilities that you owe to your subordinates and leaders. You have to be there mentally, physically and emotionally at any given point because you never know what’s going to happen. This all weighs down on you.”
After her promotion to Commander, Susan told the Inquirer that “To command is an honor and a privilege. ”
“I once thought my greatest victory was becoming an officer, but I was wrong. My greatest victory is seeing my soldiers inspired and empowered to succeed. The sons and daughters of America are the nation’s greatest asset. It is my duty to protect them. They are the future of this country. And they deserve the best leaders to excel in their life. Watching my soldiers inspires me to lead,” she said.
(LA Weekend June 8-11, 2013 Sec. A pg.10)