Last updated: August 05. 2013 10:26AM - 1601 Views
By Debbie Rolen

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Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.— Cadet Kodie Halstead, Bravo Co., 5th Regiment, has a simple motto.

“On top of everything else, you have to have fun with it,” he said.

The ambiguous “it” in the phrase, he admitted, is too broad to define. He said “it” just means “everything.” And judging from the casual ribbing and numerous smiles from the surrounding Cadets in his platoon, Halstead successfully lives by his motto. But there’s more to him than life in the Reserve Officers’s Training Corps or as a Cadet at the Leader Development and Assessment Course.

As far back as preschool, Halstead has dreamed of being a firefighter.

“It’s a want,” said the West Virginia University Institute of Technology criminal justice student. “Something that’s there. Don’t know how it gets there, it just is.”

Three years ago, Haldstead’s dream came true. The 21-year-old from Charleston, W.Va., now volunteers with the Danville Volunteer Fire Department in Danville in Boone County.

Halstead said fighting fires and fighting America’s enemies in the Army are not dissimilar. Both jobs require him to stay calm under pressure, as well as lead others into uncommon situations that the average person would run from.

A sense of brotherhood and emphasis on leadership are also important in both fields, said Halstead, who also prides himself on being an Eagle Scout. And while he categorizes himself as normally laid back and relaxed, taking on a leadership position in either arena is not a daunting task.

“When I’m serious, I’m serious,” said Halstead. “I’ve got that personality that makes people want to work. It’s not a burden on them.”

Cadet Jacob Thompson, Bravo Co., 5th Regiment, from Brockport, N.Y., and a student at State University of New York at Brockport, has become friends with Halstead during LDAC. Though they joke about the clichéd improbability of a Southern man making nice with a Yankee, Thompson said they clicked.

“We understand each other,” said Thompson. Then, addressing Halstead with a mischievous smirk, “Right, Kodie? Love you! Hearts!”

Thompson said Halstead’s outgoing personality matched his own from nearly the moment they arrived in Washington.

“We hit it off from the beginning,” he said. “Battle buds from the start.”

According to Thompson, Halstead has no qualms with “telling it like it is,” but he’s also someone who people can rely on.

“He’ll be a popular [leader],” said Thompson. “People will want to be in his platoon… His peers and his higher-ups will like him too.”

But it’s Halstead’s genuine character that Thompson said will carry his battle buddy far as an officer in the Army.

“What you see is what you get, and it’s not bad,” he said.

Whether it’s leading troops into battle or battling flames, Halstead maintained the importance of passion in any occupation.

“Just have fun with what you’re doing with the job you’re tasked out to do and it won’t be a job,” he said. “It’ll be play.”

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