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‘Flipping lieutenant' tumbles to world record

Dec. 20, 2012 - 12:33PM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 20, 2012 - 12:33PM  |  
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One of the newest officers at Fort Bliss, Texas, is already known as "that flipping lieutenant."

But in a good way.

Second Lt. JaLyssa Walker, 23, was just getting out of the Transportation Basic Officer Leaders Course in October when a friend told her a high school cheerleader had set a world record with 35 consecutive back handsprings.

"I could definitely beat that," she remembers saying. Walker, who enrolled in her first gymnastics class when she was 4 years old, had refined her back handspring as a cheerleader at the University of Texas-El Paso before graduating and joining the Army last spring.

"I was a little out of practice, so I took a month to train up for it," she said, admitting that she wasn't sure how many she'd be able to pull off.

But during UTEP's recent football game against Rice, Walker smashed the record — racking up 49 back handsprings in a row. The crowd of more than 20,000 counted along as she tumbled from one end of Sun Bowl Stadium to the other.

"The way I was feeling that night, I could have done probably 55 or maybe 60, but I just ran out of room," she said.

Walker's parents are both retired soldiers. Her dad, Rhimmington, was a chief warrant officer 4, her mother, Jolleen, a command sergeant major.

Walker's first assignment is back in El Paso at Fort Bliss' 127th Aviation Support Battalion, where she is a supply support platoon leader.

"I've become known as ‘that flipping lieutenant,'" Walker says with a laugh. "My mom says this is the only time it's good to be called that."

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