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Citizen-Warrior: Pa. Guard Soldier keeps comm lines open

By Capt. Travis Mueller | Pennsylvania National Guard | July 1, 2019

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – Spc. Courtney Petrauskas serves as an information technology specialist with Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade.

Originally from Altoona, Pennsylvania, she is also a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in information systems management, which closely mirrors her role in the 28th ECAB.

“My major is the same thing I do in the Army,” said Petrauskas. “I want to do project management in IT [information technology] after school.”

One of her duties in her unit is running the brigade’s computer help desk, where Soldiers having issues with computers or other communications equipment go for assistance.

Petrauskas said it’s a good fit as she enjoys helping people and one of her favorite parts of her military duties is when Soldiers come to her for help. She describes a good day as when she closes out all trouble tickets, or requests for assistance, by the end of the day.

The challenging days, she said, are when she has a unique problem and nobody to help her, but she says that with “a little magic” she can still get the job done.

That’s all part of her larger role of troubleshooting communication equipment and keeping the brigade connected. For Petrauskas, the hands-on experience has been invaluable.

“I’m glad I got this [military occupational specialty] because it provided me an education and certification in IT,” she said.

Though, she said, it wasn’t her first choice when she enlisted.

“This was not my choice of MOS,” said Petrauskas. “It was like my fifth choice.”

Originally, she was looking at enlisting to be a military police officer or as a specialist in responding to incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosives. But, she said she’s happy where she ended up because of the opportunities and certifications it has provided her and its close tie to her civilian education goals.

“I like it now that I am in it,” Petrauskas. “It is a lot of fun. There are challenges, but it’s OK.”