Friday, August 7, 2009


Army Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 82, speaks prior to Army Lt. Col. Mary Cheyne’s promotion to lieutenant colonel on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 1, 2009. Cheyne, a Kemblesville, Pa., native, is the knowledge management officer for the joint operations compound. U.S. Army photo by Barry Wilson

Face of Defense: 'Make It Happen' Motto Drives Army Officer

By Army Pfc. Cody A. Thompson
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2009 – Army Lt. Col. Mary Cheyne, knowledge management officer with Combined Joint Task Force 82 here, started as a West Point cadet and rose through the ranks to her current position with the Army in Afghanistan.

Cheyne said her motto, “Make it happen,” enables her to conduct business every day with focused determination.

“If you asked me when I started at West Point if I would stay in the Army long, my answer would be no,” said Cheyne, a Kemblesville, Pa., native. “I didn’t have much exposure to the military growing up, and was not sure I had made the right decision.”

Cheyne struggled with academics in her first year at the U.S. Military Academy, but eventually realized she needed to make a decision about her future. “That was a defining moment that shifted me towards a military career,” she said.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provided another defining moment. At the time, Cheyne was an administration assistant for Human Resources Command’s general staff, located in Alexandria, Va., near the Pentagon. Cheyne said she watched the tragic events unfold before her eyes.

“[Sept. 11] affected everyone in some way,” she said. “We lost a lot of good people that day, including my co-worker. That was a tough six months for me.” When dealing with tough situations, she added, she keeps in mind that she is part of something bigger than herself.


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