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Live To Inspire: Ryan Brown ’09

May 15, 2015

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U.S. Army Platoon Leader Ryan Brown ’09 knows first-hand what receiving mail means to deployed servicemen and women. As a human resources and operations officer, Brown’s unit entrusts him to lead soldiers and contractors, ensuring the postal mission in Afghanistan does not fail.

Brown, who holds a B.A. in communication studies from Texas Lutheran University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, oversees training, property accountability and safety of his troops in the Parwan Province. Part of the 4th Resolute Support Sustainment Brigade, his current mission has Brown in charge of all postal operations in and out of Afghanistan among five static locations within the country. The best part about his job, he said, is being able to make a difference in many ways.

“Mail is always a morale booster to soldiers and contractors, especially in a deployed environment,” Brown said. “Whether they’re receiving an Amazon package or sending a hand-written letter to their family, it feels good to be that mediator so our soldiers can focus on their mission in Afghanistan. I also love the fact that I get to mentor others. In the military, every soldier has a varied background and it is great to help others progress in their careers and lives as well as help the citizens of Afghanistan. I was here during the end of Operation Enduring Freedom and the beginning of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. It’s great to see how we’re getting this country back on its feet.”

Throughout his current 11-month tour, he has received seven awards including a Bronze Star. Brown said the military was part of his life long before he enlisted.

“My dad retired from the military and my college girlfriend, who later became my wife, was also in the military,” Brown said. “After seeing how the Army transformed her into a better person, I wanted to see what it was all about. I joined the ROTC in graduate school and went to the Army Airborne and Air Assault Schools, which after completion, I was sold instantly. I wouldn't trade these experiences for the world. I’ve traveled to six countries and I truly have a greater appreciation of the sacrifices that our military servicemen and women make every day for our nation stateside and abroad.”

Before joining the military, Brown was a media services staff member for the San Antonio Spurs. For Brown, communication has been crucial to the effectiveness in both his current and previous careers. It was his TLU education, he said, that taught him the ability to communicate.

“No matter what field you go into, the ability to speak and write effectively is so important in today's workforce,” Brown said. “I constantly brief colonels, generals and other high dignitaries so I appreciate the tools TLU gave me. I also took part in the Leadership Studies certification program that provided me with the solid foundation I have today when to lead my troops within this combat environment. TLU also taught me how to network. Being involved in the Greek community at TLU, I was friends with many other Greeks, including a fellow classmate named Kenneth Kovach. He was the person who slowly introduced me to the military life at TLU. We are great friends and kept in contact while we were both deployed.”

After returning from deployment, Brown plans on moving to Fort Jackson, South Carolina to complete a six-month captain’s course. Once completed, will relocate to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and work as an HR officer for the Army Special Forces Community. He hopes to eventually become a public affairs officer. Brown said he is passionate about becoming a better person every day and moving forward in his career.

“In my wallet, I keep a laminated copy of my personal mission statement that I wrote two years ago,” Brown said. “On one side, it has some personal statements on family and finances, and the other side has my six-year plan with milestones I try to accomplish. Every once in a while, I pull it out to keep me focused and motivated.”

While Brown has found his passion for camaraderie as a soldier, he always remembers how the TLU community influenced him.

“When you become a student at TLU, you become family,” Brown said. “At TLU, you make lasting relationships with fellow classmates, professors, and administrators. Some of my closest friends I met at TLU were the same people who were beside me in my wedding and were there to see me swear in as an Army officer. When you're sitting in Langner Hall, lounging at the Alumni Student Center, or relaxing in the dorms, you don't realize how much TLU shapes you until later on. Looking back, I’m thankful for the professors and the community that shaped me into the person I am today.”

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