Bright Spot: Chief warrant officer

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — She's the first female African-American promoted to her current position in the Navy. Her field of specialty is information warfare.

Chief Warrant Officer Valencia Simmons Fowler is this week's Bright Spot.

Officer Simmons-Fowler is a Chicago native who has been serving in the navy since 1988.

In November, she was promoted as the first female African-American Chief Warrant Officer in the information warfare community,

"It's a very historic moment," said Officer Simmons-Fowler. "It's something that's overwhelming, it's humbling. I'm honored to represent my community."

She keeps our country safe working with Morse code operations, signal analysis and encrypting and descrypting information.

"As of last year, I thought I was going to retire here shortly but God saw something different," said Officer Simmons-Fowler.

Her faith and determination are what she is most proud to share with her family.

"I have two daughter, a 30-year-old and a 10-year-old, and I want to set the example for them and to let them know they can pursue and achieve any dream that they set their mind and their hearts to," said Officer Simmons-Fowler.

In her 30 year career, Chief Warrant Officer Simmons-Fowler has experienced unprecedented success in rank and service, but she had some hurdles to get over on her journey.

"There are some people who may believe you're not qualified for certain positions and certain jobs, whether it's leadership or as a mentor, and you have to look past that and push forward."

She pushed forward serving in Japan, Korea and as an instructor at the Naval Technical Training Center in Pensacola, Florida.

Through the years, she says a quote from her mother has been a constant reminder that achieving her goals is always possible.

"I've lived by a couple of words that my mother has told and she said "you can always do bad by yourself" and that you can accomplish any dream that you set your mind to. There's no star too far to reach, and I've lived by that for the last 29 years," said Officer Simmons-Fowler.

To younger women trying to move ahead in their lives and careers, she offers this advice.

"Surround yourself with positive people that will help you get where you want to go that will encourage you," said Officer Simmons-Fowler.

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