Transitioning from the National Guard Isn’t The Same

Sara McMurrough is a veteran of the Army National Guard and a military spouse. She began her service as an enlisted soldier in the delayed entry program in 1998, while finishing her senior year of high school. While attending Penn State, Sara deployed to Bosnia from 2002 to 2003. She later worked as a Gold Bar Recruiter for Penn State’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, before moving to Arizona for Military Intelligence training, where she met her husband. With 20 years of military service, both as a service member and then as a military spouse, and over 10 years of cleared recruiting experience, Sara enjoys helping veteran job seekers advance their careers, in her current role as an Account Manager at ClearedJobs.Net.

Sara joined the Army National Guard while in high school. She continued to serve while gaining her degree and it was because of her service she looked into ROTC while at Penn State. She ended up meeting her husband at Advanced Training and is no longer in the National Guard, but serving as a military spouse. #military #nationalguard #rotc #jointhemilitary #militarywomen #women #milspouse

Transitioning from the National Guard Isn’t The Same – Episode 59

A recruiter called Sara at home and she decided to join the National Guard while still attending high school. Two weeks after graduating from high school and with about a year of drilling one weekend a month she headed off to basic training. She was a supply troop. But she didn’t like it and when given the opportunity to switch to be a signal troop for her deployment to Bosnia she took it. She reclassed into her new career field and completed the training needed before leaving.

It was interesting to be in Bosnia. Having her daily life as being part of the Army and completing her job for the mission. She mentioned being one of the few females and not having any major issues. She used opportunities like runs and ruck marches to prove herself. And she always did her job and worked hard. That helped her through the deployment.

After returning home she looked into ROTC at Penn State and began participating in the program while still drilling on weekends in the National Guard. She commissioned into the Signal Branch because she had been doing that as an enlisted member and quickly discovered it wasn’t a good fit. She was able to get transferred to Military Intelligence and in the nine months between when she commissioned and her training took place she was able to work at Penn State recruiting students into the ROTC program.

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Advanced Training and a life change

After ROTC recruitment she went to her Advanced Training for Military Intelligence. Someone joked she might meet her future husband there, but Sara had no plan of that. But she met her husband through a group of friends that started hanging out during training. He noticed her because of her leadership and how smart she was.

Because he was deploying, they got married eight months after meeting. She was still in the National Guard so when she finished training she went back to Pennsylvania and had to be released from her state and be accepted by her future husband’s state (North Carolina). It was about a month to get all the paperwork sorted out and then she began drilling in North Carolina. Knowing the limited information military girlfriends received they decided it made sense to move up their wedding to before he deployed.

Leaving the National Guard

Because of a knee injury, she couldn’t serve the way she wanted to. And with her husband and her being in they would have spent the first few years of marriage on rotating deployments. She decided to look into getting medically disqualified and released from the Army. Due to her knees, she was quickly released from the military and she transitioned out of the military. She said she had the advantage of having an identity outside of the military. Since she worked as a Guardsman one weekend a month and two weeks a year. She felt like she had been incorporating the skills she learned in the military to her daily life. So the transition was pretty seamless.

She has been a military spouse and is actively involved in the military community. She uses her experience to try to make positive changes to the military spouse community. And she hopes that the work she is doing can help those who have had negative experiences. Hopefully, bringing them back into the military community. And she is always excited to meet a military spouse who was once a military member.

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Sara joined the Army National Guard during high school. She continued to serve while going to college, while attending college she deployed to Bosnia. When she came she decided to look into ROTC. She shared her experience of being Enlisted and as an Officer in the Army National Guard this week on the Women of the Military Podcast. #podcast #nationalguard #army #armynationalguard #military #militarylife #milspouse #hermilitarystory #womenofthemilitary

2 comments on “Transitioning from the National Guard Isn’t The Same

  1. So proud of Ms. Sara McMurrough! She is an AMAZING woman and a sheer joy to work with on a daily basis. She is a true team player, with a positive attitude and encouraging words for everyone. What a lovely smile and a warm and tender heart, joined with an endless stream of energy and enthusiasm. Truly, this world is a better place because Ms. Sara McMurrough is in it! God Bless her and her family and God Bless our troops!

  2. Transitioning from the National Guard Isn’t the Same….as what? As leaving Active Duty?

    As an active duty member, you leave everything you know–your hometown, your friends, your family. You’ll miss births, illnesses and the death of loved ones including your parents. And you go to a new duty station every few years where you have to leave your newfound friends all over again. Not to mention once again finding new housing, new doctors, new childcare and schools for the kids, new units, leadership and colleagues, and a new regional culture to learn. And that only mentions the CONUS issues; getting stationed overseas is a whole other can of worms!
    Yes, the National Guard has its own set of hardships that come with service (especially deployments). But it truly is not the same as someone who served on active duty for 20-25 years and then transitions to civilian life.
    After doing this for 28 years now, I’m totally freaked out about where to settle down! I haven’t lived in a single place for more than four years. Where do I belong? Who are my “people?” Where is my tribe? Should we go back to my hometown, or my husband’s (we met on active duty and hail from opposite sides of the country)? Neither of us have much family left in either place. Our old friends don’t remember us. Our extended family members don’t know us since we couldn’t attend the BBQ’s and funerals and weddings and birthday parties that keep a family together. These are issues unique to active duty service members transitioning to civilian life.

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