The Legends Campaign, a partnership between Reign FC and Avanade, honors women for their extraordinary contributions in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Prior to you September 21 match against Sky Blue FC, Reign FC will recognize U.S. Army Major Brandy L. Fields as a Reign FC Legend.
Fields attended the University of South Dakota on a partial soccer scholarship and became a ROTC cadet while a student. She was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 2006 and immediately began her Active Duty service to pursue a career as a helicopter pilot in the army.
Fields has served for 13 years of Active Duty and is currently stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, nicknamed the “Nightstalkers.” She has been deployed eight times to the Middle East and has received the Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.
Fields was the first female pilot to serve for the Army/Special Operations rotary wing aviation, later becoming the first woman to command a flight company in the organization.
Fields’ husband, Major Colin Blair serves in the 1st Stryker Brigade – 2nd Infantry Division and is also stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Have sports meant anything particularly meaningful in your life?
I played soccer from the age of four until I was 25 years old. Playing soccer was where I learned three important things growing up playing a team sport 1) Work hard even when you are tired 2) Never quit on your teammates 3) Being part of something bigger than yourself is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. This has directly translated into being a Soldier and directly prepared be to serve on one of the Greatest Teams in the Nation, the U.S. Army.
What interested you in serving in the U.S. Army?
I was a senior in high school when the Twin Towers were hit and it had a huge impact on me. I remember the feeling of pride in how countries around the world reached out in support to the United States of America and everyone at home was doing everything they could to support the families of the lost American lives on 9/11/01. As I entered college I was in search of my place in standing up to help and I found that in becoming an Army Officer through the Reserve Officer Training Corps in 2002 and commissioned as an Officer in 2006 and have served on Active duty for 13 years. There will be times in your life when it’s your turn to raise your hand and say “send me”. Regardless of your occupation you will have that moment where you step up; it was my turn. I am humbled serve both the people of this great Nation and the Soldiers I serve alongside on a daily basis and hope that I may continue to do so for many years to come.
How have you seen the landscape for female soldiers change during your time in the Army?
The US Army is one of the most forward thinking organizations in the world. We continue to evolve and develop to better serve the Nation and our allies around the world. Certainly the US Army has expanded the occupational specialties for Women in Service and women have continued to excel through every one of these new schools or jobs afforded. I have always felt on-boarded and welcomed to serve at every new level and assignment I have received and that is a testament to the Professional Soldiers I serve with.
What lessons do you think young women can learn from sports that can serve them later in life?
I could make quite the expansive list of things that young women will learn from playing sports but here are a few key things. They learn that they are capable and tough; getting knocked down and getting back up again builds confidence in their resiliency. Being a good teammate; being proud of the success of those around you, never quitting on those depending on you and lifting up those around you are irreplaceable skills as an adult in a professional environment. Finally, they learn to never give up; sometimes it will be hard and sometimes people are going to place you against impossible odds but if you show up with some grit and a positive attitude you can inspire those around you to accomplish some incredible nearly insurmountable feats.
What does being recognized as a Reign FC Legend mean to you?
It is absolutely incredible to be a positive role-model for any young women or girl who reads this or is watching in the stadium. I hope they see that they can accomplish anything and never settle for anything less than your dream. I am also humbled by the women who have gone before me in nearly every occupation and facet; they are truly the shoulders with which we stand on. I have been afforded the opportunity to have positive women role-models in both sports and serving in the Army; this was not always the case for young women. We have to continue to carry the torch and be a positive influence on those looking to us and watching how we carry ourselves as professionals.
What advice would you have for young women who want to pursue a dream in a field or occupation where they have been traditionally underrepresented?
Respect yourself and never give up. There will always be a first in everything and why not you. When I entered the Army I wanted to be a Blackhawk pilot and serve in the US Army Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The latter was not possible initially, I honed my skills as an Army Aviator for 7 years when the restriction was lifted and I was afforded the opportunity to assess and select. When you are given the shot, be brave and take it, with every challenge comes an element of risk. It is your responsibility to continue to push the envelope.