HERO OF THE WEEK: Lieutenant Colonel Crystal Batey is proud to serve

Published 8:00 am Friday, April 8, 2022

This week’s Vicksburg Post Hero of the Week is Lieutenant Colonel Crystal Batey. 

Batey is a native of Barnesville, Minn. Her assignments include: platoon leader in the 502nd Engineer Multi-Role Bridge Company, Hanau, Germany, Aide-de-camp to the deputy Combined Joint 9, Multi-National Force Iraq (MNF-I), Company Commander of the 100th Engineer Company (Geospatial), Fort Bragg, N.C., Executive Officer, 35th Engineer Battalion (OSUT), S3, 1st Engineer Brigade, Operations officer, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, Chief of Current Operations, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, Ft Leonard Wood, Mo., G3, Mississippi Valley Division (MVD), United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Vicksburg, and is currently serving as the deputy commander Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), Vicksburg.

She holds degrees in sociology, public service and geographic information systems, as well as certifications in Geospatial Proficiency, and is a graduate of the Royal School of Military Survey (Hermitage, England), Joint Engineer Operations Course, Airborne School and Sapper Leader Course. Lieutenant Colonel Batey’s awards include the Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (3OLC), Joint Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Parachutist Badge, Combat Action Badge and Sapper Tab. She and her husband, Brian, have a son, Logan, and two daughters, Tegan and Regan.

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Which branch of service are you in, and what years were you active?

 I am in the Army serving on Active Duty. Come June, I will have 19 years of active service.

What were the reasons why you joined?

 My grandpa was an armament specialist in the Army-Air Corps during World War II, and my Dad was a combat medic in the Army during the Vietnam War. I admired both, and have always had a love for the U.S. and a sense of duty to stand up for others. 

What is your job in the military? 

When I enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1998 I was a 51B, carpentry masonry specialist. In 2003, I received my commission as a 2nd Lieutenant onto active duty through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) from North Dakota State University in the Army as an Engineer Officer. 

Where did you serve the majority of your time in service?

 I have been stationed in several locations including outside the United States in Germany, Iraq, Kuwait, England and Bulgaria. My state-side assignments include Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., and Vicksburg, where I am currently serving.

How did you imagine military life before you joined? 

Growing up, I thought that everyone in the Army rode around in tanks, and spent the majority of their day either at an obstacle course or on the firing range shooting their rifle. Little did I know how wrong I was. Actually, the only time that I have been in a tank is when there was a tank on display at a recruiting event.

How did your perceptions change after serving? 

Since I am currently serving, I take every opportunity to ensure my Soldiers are the best-trained they can be, whether that is sending them to school for professional development or personal development, or scheduling time in the field environment to hone their Warrior skills such as road marching and firing both personal and crew-served weapons. Being an officer and leader, I spend much of my day in an office setting working on future plans and administrative paperwork. I strive to take advantage of every opportunity to ensure that the U.S. Army remains the best Army in the world. 

How did (does) your military experience affect your life today? 

PRIDE — in all that I do. When I see something I don’t like or is just wrong, I get involved to make a positive change. I have a saying: You can’t complain about what you don’t get involved in to change. Especially since having kids, I model the example that I want my kids to aspire to be.

If there is a veteran or active duty member who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to vera.fedell@vicksburgpost.com.