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Engineer officer strives for the best

Sapper School awaits 1Lt. Amber Thompson

1Lt. Amber Thompson, 23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, recently climbed to the summit of Mt. Baker. Photo credit: Courtesy image

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Until she attended high school, 1Lt. Amber Thompson was introverted, but creative and focused on her studies. During this time, she had grown up believing her father was her father. Informed that he was not, she learned who her biological father is and reunited with him.

"I was in my freshman year of high school," explained the battalion operations officer assigned to the 23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division. "I began to travel between San Antonio and Dallas on weekends and holidays to start to get to know this father of mine I had never met."

Thompson learned that he has served in the Army in a Special Mission's Unit; that he has traveled the world and operated in austere environments; that he had become fluent in Dutch, Arabic, Russian and Spanish; and he had earned three Bronze Stars in the process.

"Throughout all of this, I found solace and strength in God ... I learned very quickly that as a Christian I am not promised an easy, messy free life. But I am promised a purposeful and full life," she explained.

"My mom taught me strength in vulnerability, compassion and sacrifice, and my father revealed an innate strength and drive in me that I had not realized I had."

This drive led Thompson to Texas Tech University where she earned her commission in 2020 through the Reserve Officers' Training Corp program while majoring in Global Studies with an emphasis in Russian. 

"I chose to serve in the Army because I wanted to serve something bigger than myself," Thompson continued. "Engineering seemed to be the jack-of-all-trades out of all the branches - it's diverse and touches a lot of different parts of the Army, from combat to construction.

Since joining the 23rd BEB, Thompson has completed her platoon leader time with a sapper platoon, and she is grateful for what her soldiers taught her.

"Being a platoon leader showed me just how much of an impact good and bad leadership can have, not only at the organizational level but right down to the individual soldiers and their families," she explained. "Witnessing the good and the bad pushed me to make myself better every day and refuse to settle for mediocrity for the sake of those I serve with."

Thompson's purpose driven attitude led her to ask for and be selected to attend a 28-day long Sapper School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

She explained that she has wanted to attend Sapper School since she was 19 because she wants to learn, experience and master what the school has to offer in order to pass on the knowledge and skills needed to the Sappers she leads.

"I want them to know they are valued; that their hard work is important; that they are all leaders in their communities and organizations," Thompson concluded.

"Make yourself and your surroundings a little bit better every day ... take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are doing something significant to improve the area you deem as lacking."

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