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INDEPENDENCE – Immediately after graduating from the Independence high school this past May, Kate Crawford went off to Fort Sill, Oklahoma to start Basic Combat Training in the Army National Guard.

In early August Pvt Crawford graduated with over 200 other soldiers of the 434th Field Artillery Brigade, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery. She was recognized as the Distinguished Honor Graduate. The Distinguished Honor Graduate is the Soldier who through performance and evaluation by the Drill Sergeants is rated as the best in the class.

“Honestly I think going to Drills through the National Guard really helped me prep and help me to stand out throughout basic,” she said. “I had a great recruiter and cadre through my RSP [Recruit Sustainment Program] and they helped teach me the basics of basic.”

All recruits attend RSP before shipping off to basic training.

“At basic I had all really good Drill Sergeants,” she said. “My platoon’s drills and even my battery senior drill sergeant helped to straighten out 1st Platoon. The Army is known for being a team, so even though I was [Distinguished Honor Graduate for my class] I couldn’t have done it without my platoon, my platoon helped push me and I helped them right back, leading us to be the honor platoon of the cycle as well.

“One thing that I think any new incoming soldiers should understand is that basic training is a game,” Pvt Crawford advises. “All you need to do is listen and show up, stay motivated and push through. But most importantly push yourself and try with everything they ask of you.”

Pvt Crawford will begin Medic Training next as she prepares to enter the University of Iowa next fall.

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