Emily Perez was the first African American cadet Brigade Command Sgt. Major of West Point – The U.S. Military Academy — tough as nails in formation, she also spent her free time tutoring cadets and writing letters of encouragement to those who felt like quitting.
Deployed after graduation, 2nd Lt. Perez demonstrated this same selfless service by volunteering to go on convoy in place of an inexperienced leader and paying the ultimate sacrifice when an improvised explosive device took her life.
Her mother remembers, “In her diary, she wrote that people have taken care of her all her life and now she had the opportunity to take care of other people. Her biggest concern was taking care of her Soldiers.”