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Ahmedabad girl is US Army specialist, keen to go to Iraq

Driving Humvees, shooting targets and training with chemical elements for warfare are not the usual tasks for a 20-year-old girl, but Neha is doing all of the above.

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Ahmedabad girl is US Army specialist, keen to go to Iraq
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AHMEDABAD: Driving Humvees, shooting targets and training with chemical elements for warfare are not the usual tasks for a 20-year-old girl, but Neha, who recently immigrated from Ahmedabad and joined the US Army, is doing all of the above.

Born in a family of doctors, Neha moved to the US two years ago after getting a green card and joined the Army school to take her career ahead as a `nuclear, biological, chemical specialist.'

“Joining the US Army is like a dream come true. I just knew that I wanted to do something that normally people would not do. The US Army is a special place to work as it tests your skills and it is a well paying job," Neha Hotchandani, who is visiting her parents in Ahmedabad as part of her Christmas vacation, said

Her grit and determination has earned her the position of a company leader (Bravo company) of the 82nd Chemical battalion (Fort Leonard Wood) in Missiori state where 250 people work under her, the immigrant-turned-Army woman said.

"Strangely I have not met a single Indian during my entire six month stint with the US army,", she said, adding, "my opinion is that every citizen of Indian should undergo Army training, even if it is in India itself as it teaches so much and prepares you well in many areas" .

"Actually I was fed up of living under too much peer pressure in my home town and saw that youth are not allowed to make their own independent choice till a long time. That is why I decided to move to the US for studies and when the Army opportunity came my way I grabbed it", she said.

She was a Commerce student in Ahmedabad and after moving base to the US she took up finance and banking investment and eventually ended up working with the US Army in an area of no prior experience.

"I joined the San Diego University when I reached here and will be a graduate by December 2007. I hope to finish that degree so that I can apply to be an Army officer else I will remain a private. In the Army school I have completed 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training (BCT) and am presently doing my Advanced Individual Training (AIT) which is a 14 week course", she said.

Neha is taking her fitness training, that included walking, exercising and running sessions, seriously and is keen to gear up to go to Iraq if and when the call of duty arises.

"Ofcource I am all keen to go to Iraq if I am sent. It would be an amazing experience for someone like me to have made it to that level", she said.

Regarding her opinion of the Indian Army and why she never thought of joining the services her, Neha blames the `Indian system' and adds that it would be tough for her to work under the `terms, conditions and constraints' here.

A few weeks off at home for Christmas vacation as a civilian and then its time for Neha to head back to base where the Army fatigues await her.

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