It isn’t uncommon for military members to pass the tradition of military service down to their children. Charlene wanted to attend college and didn’t see a path forward with the military. But then she learned about how she could become an officer while earning her degree and everything changed.
American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association
Charlene joined the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA) in 2015 as supervisor of the Survivor Assistance team. In her role as Assistant Secretary, she works closely with the Chief Operating Officer in managing AAFMAA’s life insurance business with a focus on contracting, support services, and information technology. Charlene is a Veteran of the United States Army Chemical Corps serving six years including a company command position. She is also a current active duty military spouse and has the distinction of being AAFMAA’s first female officer.
The tradition of Military Service
Charlene grew up in a military family and struggled with what to do in college. That is where she learned about the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). She had heard of ROTC before college, but thought you needed to be a nurse or male to serve, and since she didn’t fit either of those categories didn’t think about the option of joining the military. When she found out about the options available through ROTC she joined and found the structure and organization she was looking for.
She served in the Chemical Corps, starting at Fort Hood in Texas, then she went to Captain’s career course. While she was there September 11th happened. She was slated to go to Korea and initially tried to change course so she could be ready to respond. But ended up going to Korea per the needs of the Army and met her husband while being stationed there. They got married in Korea so they could get stationed together and she became an instructor at Aberdeen Proving Ground. It was there she decided to leave the military behind and become a stay at home mom.
Transitioning to the Workforce
She stayed at home for 10 years, partly because she was overseas and there were not a lot of options. And when she came back stateside, she decided to dive back into the workforce. She used resources available on the Army post and the USO. She was able to get a job at AAFMAA which fulfilled her calling to serve others and make an impact.
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