1st lieutenant evolves from tennis star to HR

| March 30, 2017 | 0 Comments
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii-U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elle L. Taylor (right), the human resource strength management officer with the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Pacific, and her sister, Della Taylor, celebrate besting their opponents during the finals of the Patriot League tournaments in May 2013. This win earned the sisters an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. (Courtesy Photo)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii-U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elle L. Taylor (right), the human resource strength management officer with the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Pacific, and her sister, Della Taylor, celebrate besting their opponents during the finals of the Patriot League tournaments in May 2013. This win earned the sisters an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. (Courtesy Photo)

Sgt. Kimberly K. Menzies
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Have you ever sat next to a group of people on the bus and wondered who they were?

Have you ever chatted with your co-workers, only to discover at a farewell event that you had no clue they were married with kids?

One of the marvels of the military is the opportunity to meet individuals from different walks of life who have seen the organization evolve through several generations during their tenure and who were drawn to answer their nation’s call to selfless service.

The diversity of individuals found in the Army melting pot are reflections of the high caliber of men and women in uniform, and many serve in the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command.

One of them 1st Lt. Elle L. Taylor.

Background

Elle Taylor was born in Redondo Beach, California, 16 months after her older sister, Della. Her father worked in sales, in downtown Los Angeles, and her mother was a music teacher for the L.A. Unified School District. Regardless of what her parents’ personal or career lives were like, they always made sure to prioritize their daughters.

“Yes, my parents may have been divorced, but they still remained the best of friends who made sure that my sister and I were always their No. 1 priority,” said Elle, the human resource strength management officer in the 94th AAMDC. “They were always there to pick us up and make sure we made it to practices and games. My parents kept my sister and I extremely busy with sports, and it was what kept our family bond so strong. I think that is where my reverence for athletics began.

“No matter what was going on, we all came together in support of our sports,” Elle added. “They made sure they provided us with every opportunity to succeed.”

With a childhood that consisted of juggling school and her softball, soccer and tennis schedules, Elle learned the importance of hard work and determination. These values pushed her and Della to impressive athletic achievements at a young age.

“I played national competitive junior tennis with Della from the age of 8,” explained Taylor. “Our goal had always been to earn a full ride scholarship to a Division I college; the last thing on our minds was to attend a service academy.”

Della Taylor, one grade ahead of Elle Taylor, received a phone call from a surprising source interested in her athletic prowess.

“She received a phone call during her junior year in high school from the tennis coach at (U.S. Military Academy,) West Point indicating an interest in recruiting my sister,” said Elle. “Prior to that call, we had absolutely no knowledge or understanding of what attending and playing for a service academy entailed.”

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii-U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elle L. Taylor (right), the human resource strength management officer with the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Pacific, and pictured graduating U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point cadet, accepts her graduation diploma from Gen. Martin Dempsey in May 2015. Taylor was the third person and first female cadet of her graduating class to receive her diploma because she had received the Army Athletic Association Award, given to the male and female cadet who displays the most valuable service to intercollegiate athletics during a career as a cadet. (Courtesy Photo)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elle L. Taylor (right), the human resource strength management officer with the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Pacific, is pictured graduating U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point cadet. She accepts her graduation diploma from Gen. Martin Dempsey in May 2015. (Courtesy Photo)

Opportunities

The door of opportunity had been presented to them. They just had to decide whether they were ready to adjust their original plans and step through that door.

They both did, but it was less like stepping through than kicking the door off its hinges.

“Della and I both attended and graduated from West Point,” said Taylor. “All three years that we attended together, we served as the No. 1 doubles team.”

It became clear that hard work and dedication, along with their parents’ support, had set them up to cement their place in West Point and the Army’s athletics history.

“We currently hold the record for the most wins at the No. 1 doubles position for the Army women’s tennis team,” said Elle. “We won the Patriot League Conference Tournament together – twice, and received automatic bids in the prestigious NCAA tournament.”

The sisters’ received automatic bids in the NCAA tournament in 2012 and 2013, Elle said. Both received the Maggie Dixon Inspiration Award for fearless competitiveness and love of sport. Taylor earned recognition as the Athlete of the Year her junior year.

Elle not only worked diligently to best her opponents on the court, she also strove to excel scholastically above her peers as well.

“I received the Scholar-Athlete Award and graduated with honors in the system’s engineering department,” said Taylor.

Elle was the third overall and the first female cadet of her graduating class of approximately 950 cadets to receive her diploma because she had received the Army Athletic Association Award, an honor that she received while in the presence of many of our nation’s most influential and powerful civilian and military leaders.

“The Army Athletic Association Award is given to the male and female cadet who displays the most valuable service to intercollegiate athletics during a career as a cadet,” she said.

After graduation, she was asked to serve as an athletic intern for her West Point women’s tennis team.

When journey with the women’s tennis team had come to a close, Elle wasn’t finished pushing herself or her leadership ability as a Soldier.

“Following my internship, I attended my Adjutant General Basic Leadership Course and graduated as the distinguished honor graduate,” said Elle.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii-U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elle L. Taylor (right), the human resource strength management officer with the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Pacific, is promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant during a ceremony, Nov. 22, 2016, at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Troy S. Frey, 94th AAMDC Public Affairs)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elle L. Taylor (right), the human resource strength management officer with the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Pacific, is promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant during a ceremony, Nov. 22, 2016, here. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Troy S. Frey, 94th AAMDC Public Affairs)

Present day

Elle currently advises and leads as a human resource officer at the 94th AAMDC where she specializes in officer strength management.

Though she continues to involve herself in sports, she is focused on enabling other Soldiers to be fully developed leaders. She is growing to her maximum potential in her career field.

“My leadership advice would be to treat those around you how you would want to be treated,” shared Elle. “I am a firm believer in creating a positive atmosphere where those around you want to do their very best and work hard.”

She continued, “My (command sergeant major) at West Point always emphasized to ‘care that much,’” said Elle. “I think if everyone tried their best and cared about what they were doing and how their work affects Soldiers and their families, the mission’s end state would benefit greatly.

“It is easy for me, as a human resources officer, to get lost in the paperwork, but knowing that behind every paper and document is a Soldier and a family is what really motivates me to do the best that I can to complete the process as fast as possible.”

When asked to reflect on the importance of observing National Women’s History Month (in March), Elle acknowledged her achievements would not be possible without those who came before her.

“I think it is important to recognize those brave women in the military who have had to break the glass ceiling,” she said. “These women endured so much to make it possible for future generations of women like me to have as many opportunities as we do.”

She added, “I had the privilege of having Capt. Shaye Haver, one of the three first female Ranger graduates, as my fitness coach, while on the tennis team at West Point,” she said. “I feel that these three female Rangers have really inspired not only all the women currently serving in the military, but also young girls all around the world to try their best and break society’s restrictions on women.”

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Category: Army News Service, DVIDS, Leadership, News

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