U.S. Army Master Sgt. Charles Duke: The goal setter
By Annette P. Gomes, Army Warrior Care and Transition
ARLINGTON, Va. – If you spend just one minute with U.S. Army Master Sgt. Charles Duke, you’ll quickly find he’s a Soldier with a plan.
“My motto is to stay humble, share knowledge to help others and never stop setting goals.
Having dreams to do something is imaginary, goals are attainable through action,” said Duke.
The Louisiana native’s strong determination came from his family’s deep roots in the military service. His mother retired from the Air Force, his brother served in the Army and his maternal grandfather and uncles all served in the Army.
Duke says although he hoped to continue serving his country, major back problems began to impact his ability to move and resulted in him having surgery that would alter his career path, pushing him toward retirement sooner than expected. However, his time spent at the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Bragg, North Carolina helped him establish a new set of goals as he heads into retirement.
“When I arrived at the WTB, I was mentally ready for my transition into retirement and to begin a new chapter in my life,” Duke said.
That new chapter involved obtaining a Masters of Business Administration in Project Management and completing the Project Management Professional Certification. The four hour test consists of 200 questions and covers 49 different processes relating to project management. The WTB Transition Coordinator, Larry Lingenfelter, says it’s an accomplishment not many Soldiers complete.
“We have a lot of Soldiers start [the PMP certification], but never complete it because it is very difficult. In fact, Master Sgt. Duke is my first Soldier to see this through to certification,” Lingenfelter said.
“I started my journey a little over a year before taking the actual exam. I believe only 40-50 percent of people pass the test on their first attempt, so it was a humbling experience to achieve this goal on my first try,” Duke said.
In addition to taking the test, Duke also participated in several Career Education Readiness events that encourage Soldiers assigned to a WTB to capitalize on training and career building opportunities as they prepare for their transition into the civilian workforce. Upon his retirement on June 1, he will accept a position as an Operations Specialist for the government.
“I hope that other Soldiers can learn from my accomplishments that anything is achievable if you apply yourself. There were times I wanted to let go myself, but I didn’t give up,” Duke said.
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