I had a college scholarship for an associate’s degree in journalism at Casper College in Wyoming. I wanted to continue my studies in journalism, but could not afford it. I was getting antsy to really do something. The Army was always in the back of my head since many of my relatives and friends had been in the military. So, I entered the Army through a delayed-entry program, allowing me to complete my associate’s degree and begin active duty with civilian acquired skills.
I began my military career as a public affairs specialist doing what I loved, writing articles and taking pictures. My first tour took me to Europe where one of my assignments was to cover the 50th anniversary of World War II. This assignment took me all over Europe to important historic sites including Normandy where I interviewed World War II veterans, wrote articles for use in military and civilian publications, and took historical photos. I also acted as a media escort for civilian journalists, reporters, and photographers as they viewed various military sites.
In only a three-year period, I got to visit 12 countries. I spent time in northern Iraq covering the Army’s operations to provide humanitarian assistance to Kurdish refugees. I often accompanied soldiers on their missions so that I could document what they were doing. I patrolled the Serbian/Macedonian border. My job is the best one in the Army because through it, I get to experience everyone else’s job.
Even though I loved my job in the Army, I made the decision to leave to start a family. However, after being out of the military, I really missed the camaraderie and lifestyle. The military provides a community unlike any other I’ve experienced. After having my second child, I chose to return to the Army where I am now performing public affairs duties at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. In the next few months, I will be up for promotion, and will also have the opportunity to further my skills by taking more advanced classes in photojournalism. I am happy to be back in the military. I am in for the long haul now. It wasn’t until I joined the military that I realized there was so much out there. I want my kids to have the same opportunities.