MVHS Alums Serve

MVHS Alums Serve

This is the 32nd in a series about graduates from Mountain Valley High School who are serving our country in the military.
Barely into her teens, Briah Carey believed she would go to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
After graduating from Mountain Valley High School in 1996, that’s exactly what she did. She attained the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army.
Cpt. Carey recalled, “I watched a 60 Minutes segment by Leslie Stahl with my mom on women at West Point when I was 13 or so. I saw the women that they featured and thought, first, it’s a travesty that women have only been able to attend an institution like West Point for 16 years at that point – about as long as I had been alive. Second, they seem really tough, and third, hey, maybe I could do that, too.”
According to the U.S. Military Academy website, “Another significant development at West Point came when enrollment was opened to women in 1976. Sixty-two women graduated in the class of 1980, to include Andrea Hollen, Rhodes Scholar. Just as women are a vital and integral part of the U.S. Army, so they are at West Point.”
That television program set the path for her journey through the military and into civilian life.
Cpt. Carey explained, “The decision of where to attend college is a significant one. It’s a decision where it’s not just about going to college, it’s a huge decision that transforms the rest of one’s life, and for me that included four years at West Point, five years of active duty service, and three years in the National Guard.
At 17, that is something hard to fathom. Especially when it includes a year in combat where ‘front lines’ are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I experienced it all, and met the most amazing people throughout my years of service, including my husband. We first met in Iraq.”
Her time at West Point set her on a career path in military intelligence.
“After West Point, I started out in the military as an officer, Second Lieutenant, and served as a Platoon Leader of a Military Intelligence unit of about 30 soldiers,” Cpt. Carey said. “Then I was an Executive Officer, like a Chief of Staff, for a Military Intelligence Company and was responsible for deploying the unit to Iraq. In Iraq, I was the Military Intelligence officer for an aviation unit with the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq. Lastly, on active duty I was a Director of Intelligence for Space and Missiles to understand global strategic threats to the U.S. and our allies. Every job challenged me in a different way – no doubt, all were challenging and I just needed to figure out what needed to be done to be successful in each new role and environment.”
The woman from Rumford saw part of the country during her active duty service as well as parts of Iraq. She ended up a little closer to home.
Cpt. Carey described, “I spent three years at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, CO, with the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment, and then a year in combat in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom, and my last year of active duty at the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs. Then rounded out my last three years with the Massachusetts National Guard.”
Being honorably discharged in 2008 was not the end of her achievements.
She graduated from Harvard Business School, completed Citigroup’s Global Leadership Program and traveled all over the world.
Three years ago, she joined a growing healthcare company and currently works there.
Lest one thinks Cpt. Carey focuses only on her career, she said, “On the personal front, I got married to the man I met in Iraq during my last year of active duty service, returned to Colorado where I live currently, and have two beautiful kids – 2.5-year-old Ava and six-month-old Brynn.”
Through her military career, she learned perspective and appreciation.
“I learned that life isn’t about me, or you, or things,” Cpt. Carey explained. “Life is about people. In the Army you don’t have much, in so many ways, but if you have the people that you work with to inspire you, support you, motivate you, and reciprocate that to others than collectively you can accomplish anything. The camaraderie in the military is difficult to find elsewhere and the commitment to one another is truly amazing. One more thing that I learned from my years in the Army is to have a sense of humor.”
She also has a message for the community and how they view members of the military.
Cpt. Carey described, “You asked: what is one thing people at home can do to support service members. Know that service members don’t decide if the U.S. goes to war and with whom. Politicians make those decisions. Service members are expected to perform the orders of elected officials and they try awfully hard to do it well and with a tremendous sense of duty and pride in their country. It’s the most moving thing for me to think about what inspires service members to do what they do every day because it is hard work, and it’s easy to forget. It takes a very special person to serve and we need to thank them every chance we get for keeping us safe and protecting our liberties.”
Cpt. Carey is the daughter of Tom and Sally Carey of Rumford. Her older brother Seth also lives in Rumford. Her younger sister Brooke resides in Boston.
If you know of a MVHS alumnus who is currently serving their country or has finished their enlistment, please contact Donna Peare at dpeare@rsu10.org.