College student heads on second Iraq tour

February 20, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
A Fayetteville State University student gets a hero's send off as she prepares to head to Iraq as a soldier.

Shacovia Sheppard is also on the FSU woman's basketball team, but she is putting her college education on hold for the second time to serve her country.

Sheppard joined the Army Reserves knowing she would be sent to Iraq at least once. Her first tour of duty was from 2005 to 2006. Now the junior majoring in Psychology, says she was not expecting a second order.

"I really don't want to go because I'm ready to graduate and just move on, but I have to put it on hold for a 2nd time," Sheppard said.

In 2005, during her freshman year, Sheppard was sent to Iraq for the first time. She operated a 50 caliber machine gun protecting convoys.

Thursday, she was honored by FSU students and alumni, not as a player, but a patriot who has earned the respect of everyone.

"I don't know a lot of people that would just want to go over there and fight in a war so that says a lot about her character as a person," Teammate, Antoinette Smith said.

Sheppard's coach says her military training makes her an outstanding player.

"She plays hard 100 percent of the time, whether its two minutes or ten minutes," FSU Coach Eric Tucker said.

She joined the Army Reserves in 2004 to help pay her college tuition. She says, she will not consider a student deferment.

"My thing is if I have to go, I am not the type to back out of anything," Sheppard said. "I wouldn't want to put somebody in my shoes, so just go ahead and do it."

Sheppard reports for duty March 1, until then she will withdraw from classes at FSU and spend time with her family in Charleston, South Carolina.


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