WHAT BRANCH OF THE SERVICE ARE/WERE YOU IN?
"I was army."
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO JOIN AND HOW OLD WERE YOU?
"I enlisted at 24. I had a teaching job before the army, and I felt I needed to do something different with my life."
WAS YOUR FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR DECISION?
"My family was not very supportive. My mother did not speak to me for two weeks. She had hopes for me to go to college, get a good job, but I wanted to choose my own journey. Not the one that she wanted for me. I went to college for five years as a sign language interpreting major, but I was bored with my life."
"The only difference between civilian versus military with pregnancy and childbirth is that a female soldier who gets pregnant, can take an optional discharge, an honorable discharge, out of the military. It is called a chapter 8. That is what I did. I delivered at an army hospital, which had civilian doctors, as well as army. What I did not like about the army while I was pregnant was the lack of compassion. Every pregnancy is different. Just because I'm throwing up every five minutes does not mean that I need to be sitting around in an office. If nothing is going on during the workday, I can't just go on up to my room to lay down and throw up in my bathroom. You can't call out sick in the army. You can try to have a doctor give you quarters, but good luck on that. My pregnancy was very rough from the beginning, and I was still sent on a mission in the beginning when I was trying to get out. But [you] made me go on the mission instead of getting me out? I had to wait till I got to my new duty station to get out."
WHAT DO YOU DO ON VETERANS DAY?
"I don't do much on Veterans Day. I try to avoid the free meals, because it's always a very long wait."
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE WHO IS CONSIDERING MILITARY SERVICE BUT IS STILL UNDECIDED?
"My advice to anyone who is considering going in the military is if you want to do it, do it. Everybody has their own experience. Everybody handles things differently, and everybody processes things differently. I thought basic training was fun. I knew the drill sergeants were messing with my head. I kept that in my mind when they play games with us. Because it was all a game. The military is not for everyone. Be prepared for a lot hurry up and wait, and a lot of last minute things."
AS I MENTIONED, YOU RECENTLY MARRIED AND HAD A BABY. HOW DID YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND MEET?
"Brandon and I met when we were stationed together in Germany. We were in the same unit.
DO YOU THINK YOU FACED ANY ADDITIONAL CHALLENGES BEING A COUPLE STATIONED TOGETHER IN THE MILITARY?
"We faced several challenges. Brandon was an e5 and I was an e3, and when we went to our platoon sgt to inform him we wanted to date, we were kept in the same platoon. But chain of command was aware of our relationship. When we were married, we were still kept in the same platoon. When we were married, we were denied housing because Brandon was already on orders to pcs, so we had to live apart in the barracks for 5 months. When Brandon came down on assignment, he went to get his orders and it was found that our married army couple paperwork had never been submitted- though we had then dated a few weeks back. Come to find out, someone didn't send the email up to higher. I ended up being left behind. It was too late for Brandon to file an extension. I tried to file a curtailment (early release from unit) and it was sat on for 3 months, then denied. I rechecked the regulations and it didn't pertain. I tried 2 more times. 14 months later when I PCSed, it was still pending."
NOT EXACTLY CHALLENGES A CIVILIAN COUPLE DEALS WITH, BUT I GUESS RELATIONSHIP ISSUES ARE UNIVERSAL?
"Things are out of your control, like someone's human errors and not filing your marital paperwork, therefore you and your spouse get split up for over a year, normal couples don't face things like that."