Kattarina joined Army in 2009 she served for 5 and a half years on active duty, before transferring to the Army Reserves. She was in the Reserves for just under 2.5 years, making her total service 7 years and 11 months. She was a Judge Advocate (JAG) officer while in the military and for the moment she is a stay at home mom, studying for a human resources certification and pondering whether to use her GI Bill to do something completely different.
Kattarina decided to join the military because her husband had served and wanted to go back into the military during her first year in law school. She knew the complexity with licenses was a challenge for military spouses who were lawyers so she decided to join the Army as well. As a JAG officer in the Army, she would only need to be licensed in one state as they moved around the country and she would work doing federal law.
While completing law school, her husband rejoined the military and with deployment and ops tempo it made sense for her to stay in Oregon and complete law school while her husband served. After being married for two years they finally lived together while waiting for the Bar results and a medical waiver. Then it was off to Officer and law training. When she finally finished her training her husband had moved to Germany and they were able to get stationed together.
Deployed to Iraq together
When she arrived in Germany she and her husband began to prepare for their deployment to Iraq. They deployed together and were able to see each other even though he worked long hours. They would normally get to see each other for breakfast each day. But six months into the deployment she was assigned to another base in Iraq. Although they were in the same country they were no longer at the same base. Luckily, they had saved their Rest & Recuperation until after the six-month point so it wasn’t too bad being separated for the second half of the deployment.
She faced a few challenges being a female in the military. When she was pregnant and under a profile, they asked her to work longer than her profile allowed. And when she pushed back asking for them to put it in writing they didn’t like that response. It eventually led her to leave active duty and make the switch to Reserves.
The transition to Reserves was more difficult than she anticipated.
The random schedule where she would have extra work. While still having her husband serving in a demanding job in the Army. Made it hard to get everything done while still being able to take care of her family. She didn’t do the required training to make the next rank and left the Reserves when she was passed over for Major. Her husband and she both left the military within a month of each other. He used his terminal leave to stay at home with their daughter. While she went back to work full time as a civilian lawyer.
Check out all the details in between in the latest episode of Women of the Military Podcast.
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