Army Capt. Breanna M. Owens knows a thing or two about meeting the Army’s physical and mental challenges. As an intelligence officer and a functional fitness center working group member at the newest gym at Hohenfels, Germany, she can be found leading the way and setting an example for anyone bright enough to follow.
An Army intelligence officer is typically responsible for collecting surveillance and reconnaissance information; coordinating and participating in counterintelligence investigations; and engaging in electronic warfare, but in her role at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Owens is helping to prepare units for combat across the European theater.
“I like the challenge of intelligence work,” she said. “Every job I’ve had has been completely different and I’ve had to adapt to an entirely new challenge; it keeps me on my toes.”
There’s nothing new about strong women in the Army, but Owens definitely lives up to that moniker. Her regular workout routine consists of about two hours of weightlifting four days a week and an hour or more doing different types of cardiovascular activity, whether they be functional fitness, intervals, or long runs two to three days per week.
“I was part of an Olympic weightlifting team in San Antonio and did a couple competitions,” Owens said. “I am a marginally good weightlifter at best, but I love doing it and I loved the supportive, team environment. Even though it is an individual sport, it always helps to have people cheering you on.”
One of her coworkers, Capt. Franklin Peachey, also an intelligence officer, has nothing but high praise for her.
“A crucial component of the high standards expected of all Army officers is for them to serve as an example of physical fitness for those around them,” Peachey said. “Captain Owens has made it clear from day one, when I picked up a Rogue Fitness barbell from the post office for her, that personal fitness is a top priority and she is eager to see and help others make it a higher priority as well.
“From my perspective, the greatest contribution Captain Owens makes as a role model to all those around her is that she continuously strives to be a more capable and competent military intelligence officer and Army officer.”
A sort of homecoming
Owens is relatively new to the Hohenfels Training Area, but she’s no stranger to Germany.
“I lived in Germany as a middle schooler,” she added. “But I’m excited to be back in Europe. I’m looking forward to doing a lot of traveling and trying to cross a few more places and things off my ‘bucket list.’”
As the youngest child and only girl of four siblings, Owens said she almost always ended up choosing the hardest paths to prove herself to her older brothers.
“As I was getting ready to graduate college and figure out what my next step was going to be in life, my brother, who was an Army recruiter at the time, threw me some pros and cons to giving the Army life a go,” she said. “I knew I would enjoy the challenge.”
That challenge took her from her hometown of York, Pa., to Afghanistan for two deployments.
“Both deployments were huge learning experiences for me personally and professionally,” she said. “As an intelligence officer, you constantly train to do your job, but deployments are where you execute the skill set you’ve accrued.”
Owens’ success as an Army officer may be attributed to growing up with older brothers, seeing her brother serve and knowing her father served back in the 1960s, or learning from exceptional leaders.
“I am lucky to benefit from the work of a lot of talented, driven female officers that came before me, which allows me to serve in the Army today,” Owens said. “Being a female officer in the Army presents some of its own unique challenges, but they aren’t nearly what they used to be.”
Owens’ recommendation to other female soldiers is to find a strong group of peers that act as a support group.
“It always helps to have others that are in a similar situation to bounce ideas off of and vent to for sanity and reality checks.”
Owens hopes that more females will continue to join the Army.
“The Army will test your physical and mental toughness and resilience on a continuous basis,” added Owens. “You have to be ready to meet and surpass the challenge. That being said, it is also some of the most rewarding work you can do, on a level you won’t get anywhere else.”