One Soldier’s Rise to the Army’s Elite Psychological Ops Unit

From college kid to history maker.

Written by Kevin Williams

It’s no secret that in 2023, our reality is rapidly changing. This can cause young adults in particular to feel pessimistic about what the future holds. With over 200 jobs and countless possibilities, the U.S. Army is on a mission to reframe this outlook into one that is full of hope, opportunity, and most of all, personal fulfillment. Here’s one Soldier’s story of how the Army can help you Be All You Can Be.

Captain Blake Sedgley — then simply known as ‘Blake’ — entered the University of Oregon determined to experience everything that college had to offer. He became involved in student government and sports, made lifelong friends as a fraternity member, and ultimately earned a degree in Business Administration. Shortly before graduation, a chance encounter with Army ROTC on campus introduced him to the world of possibilities he never could have imagined. Just like that, Sedgley was on the fast track to an adventure-filled, rewarding career in the U.S. Army.

What initially intrigued Sedgley was the breadth of the Army's personal and professional opportunities, among them traveling the world and growing into a leader with the power to make real impact throughout your career. Right after his 2012 college graduation, he entered the Basic Officer Leader Course, eventually settling in Germany where he would spend the next several years as a Platoon Leader responsible for the training and well-being of 40 Soldiers.

"It was a fantastic experience," Sedgley tells Inverse, of working with NATO allies on training drills. While he himself never experienced combat, his unit made sure he was fully trained and prepped in case that adrenaline-pumping moment ever came. His unit was awaiting the call to a contingency operation but ended up not needing to deploy.

By the time his late twenties hit, Sedgley was ready to figure out what was next. Lucky for him, unlike the corporate world where advancing your career can be a solitary goal, the Army provides Soldiers with the support to allow them to explore career options, no matter where their interests lie.

A fascination with the high-level workings of the Army led Sedgley to the Special Operations training team at the Bavaria-based Joint Multinational Readiness Center. Little did he know that during his time there, his unit would have a front row seat for the Russia-Ukraine geopolitical movement of the moment. As a result, he uncovered a personal passion for global work by giving a voice to the voiceless and providing the oppressed with a chance at democracy: "That was incredibly interesting to me and a driving factor for why I chose to go Psychological Operations.”

In the Army’s own words, Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Soldiers “are known for their communication expertise — using unconventional tactics to persuade and influence foreign allies and enemies in support of U.S. Army objectives.” It wasn’t long until Sedgley found himself at Fort Bragg, NC, receiving hands-on training and participating in an immersive language school to fully prepare him for long-term success.

PSYOP provided an avenue for Sedgley to go beyond his role as an Infantry leader and use his Army training in a geopolitically tense, hyper-relevant situation. In this role, he was able to act as a problem-solver and make international resiliency his full-time focus.

"I worked overseas supporting national resiliency by building up our foreign Allies’ internal defenses, and making sure they have capable militaries,” Sedgley tells Inverse. He and his team have executed large-scale media and public awareness campaigns that support U.S. diplomacy efforts and help solve vulnerability issues across the globe. Sedgley has also aided with recruitment for U.S. Allies’ military and security services by working with senior military officials and security service personnel to build stronger defenses from the ground up.

Today, Sedgley is a Psychological Operations Officer within the 4th Battalion of the 10th Special Forces Group, still focusing on the same issues — but now from a broader perspective.

Without continuous support from the Army, Sedgley says he would never have been able to build such a strong career foundation, and he’s thankful for the crucial time he needed to figure out what his passions are. Today, his role allows him the versatility to use the skills of social psychology, communications and marketing, and leadership. He spends his days studying fear, motivation, and politics, and honing these skills to nurture global democracy in the process.

Explore the endless possibilities of a career in the U.S. Army.

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