Welcome to today’s episode of Women of the Military today’s guest is Kelly Rodriguez.
Kelly is a Retired Army veteran who served for 21 years. She is an Army spouse, Army Mom, grandmother and special assistant for the Global World On Terrorism (GWOT) Memorial Foundation. She joined the military straight out of high school. She served as an Army medic and deployed to Bosnia shortly after completing boot camp and tech school.
As a young Private in Bosnia, she spent a lot of time pulling guard duty, but also went on convoys outside of the base and worked in the hospital. She didn’t really know why the US was there when she left for the deployment so she read a book to learn more about why they were there and the peacekeeping mission she was a part of. Because her time in the military was so short, she didn’t know anything different and expected military life to be like her deployment.
Her career led her to live overseas and deploy multiple times.
Her last assignment was at Fort Bragg in North Carolina where she still resides today.
Hearing about her experience in Iraq in 2004 showed me how so much changed with tactical vehicles when I deployed six years later to Afghanistan. Even with the threat of Improvised Explosive Devices, the early years of the Iraq war had soldiers on convoys in basic Humvees with no protection. She also deployed to Afghanistan. She deployed six times in her career, three combat deployments, and three peacekeeping deployments.
Most of her deployments she was single and unattached.
But her last deployment she had gotten married to a single dad and left behind her youngest son who was two and she knew she would miss his third birthday. That made that deployment more difficult than past deployments.
Her son is currently serving in the Army. We talked about what it is like to be a mom of a soldier after being a soldier. She talked about how hard it was to watch him leave for his deployment, knowing where he was going and some of the challenges he would face.
Mentioned in the episode (contains affiliate links):
Global War on Terrorism Monument:
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