She's got the spirit, and smile down to a routine. Supporting the football team, and her flyer at the same time.
But when 20 year old Alyssa Kresge is not rooting for the Carroll College Saints, she flips the script, and trades in her pom poms for a 3-round burst M-16, as well as the ability to assemble a 249 light machine gun. Alyssa serves as an E-4 for the Montana National Guard, and oftentimes people are surprised to find out she plays for team USA.
"Kind of a shock. They're like, "Woah that's crazy. I can't believe you do both." You just normally don't see cheerleaders that are in the military," says Kresge.
She fell in love with cheerleading first, when she was in high school,
"Me and my friend and we were just like "hey we should try out for cheerleading." Kind of just like a joke in a way. But then we both made the cheer team and that's when we were both like "yeah we kind of like this," explains Kresge
When she turned 18, she joined the National Guard. Her older sister Erica played a part in helping her make the decision.
"So when I saw that it worked out good for her, it helped her for schooling and she gets to serve the country, just those different aspects of it. So I think that's the main reason, just serving the country and I thought it would be a cool experience to go do and help pay for college," says Kresge, now a sophomore for the Saints.
Cheerleader, soldier, but there's one more element to add to Alyssa: student, which is actually the most expensive part of her life. A year's tuition at Carroll college could cost up $36,000 a year. So imagine how Alyssa felt, when she almost couldn't return to Carroll due to financial limitations? she worked two jobs during the summer to be able to go to Carroll for at least for another year, and her teammates are glad she still around to be their base & back spot.
"She's my best friend, I think that out of anyone she's the one that could do it. She's always had to work (through) high school and she's always been able to balance everything that she's ever done," adds Alyssa's cheer teammate Erika Vosbeck.
As of now, she still doesn't know if she will graduate as a Saint. She's hoping a scholarship can give her the boost she needs to finish her degree at Carroll, while awaiting word on where she will be deployed.
"Afghanistan, Kuwait, North Korea, those are the main places that I know about. And I guess the only place that I know about that I think that we would deploy to," speculates Kresge
Her routine beyond the 2013-14 school year is still up in the air.
But regardless of the uncertainty, there's one thing that does know, that it doesn't matter if she's wearing a skirt or fatigues.
Because she has friends and family on both sides, that will continue to cheer for her, no matter what uniform she decides to wear.