When Hana joined the Marine Corps she felt the pressure to prove she was worthy of being there. But she learned that you don’t have to prove yourself. Just do your best. Check out this week’s episode of the Women of the Military podcast to hear Hana’s story.
Hana Romer served 10 years in the Marines as an Aviation Ordnance Technician. She also spent some time on recruiting duty. She graduated from Texas A&M in 2017 and is currently an advisory board member for the Military Family Advisory Network. I am MCAS Yuma’s 2020 AFI Military Spouse of the Year. She also runs a personal blog called SemperAg.com
Hana decided to join the Marines her Senior year of high school to get out of her small town. Her parents had aspirations for her to go to college and become a doctor or a lawyer, but she had her own ideas. Without her parent’s knowledge, she met with a recruiter, signed the paperwork, and attended MEPS. She decided to tell them before it came out in the high school newspaper near the end of high school. She left for boot camp the summer after graduation.
Bootcamp made Hana realize how hard she had been on her parents. As she met people from all over the country and had her freedom taken away from her. It made her realize how much her parents sacrificed for her. And changed their relationship.
Pressure to Prove
She graduated from boot camp and Marine Combat Training and headed off to become an Aviation Ordnance Technician with training in Florida and North Carolina. Her first assignment was in San Diego and she worked on F-18s. It was back-breaking work and she felt the pressure to prove herself worthy of being there but now realizes that she was worthy because she met the requirements like her male counterparts and didn’t have to do anything else.
She deployed to Japan at that assignment and when she returned home moved on to Camp Pendleton to work on helicopters. From there she deployed to Iraq. As one of two women in her unit, she was very lonely. She also was on the night shift and struggled to get on a rhythm that worked for her.
Recruiter Duty and a Life Change
When she came home from deployment, she volunteered to be a recruiter. She completed the Sergeants Course and then went to the rifle range where she met her now husband. She started her schooling for recruiter school and was told she was going to go to Georgia because she spoke Korean. Since she had volunteered the Marine Corps was supposed to give her first choice, but someone who did not volunteer who also spoke Korean took her spot in San Diego. Hana was frustrated with the situation and on a whim, her husband and her decided to go to Vegas and get married.
Hana ended up getting reassigned to Orange County. She and her husband were both working special assignments and hardly saw each other. Eventually, they went back to normal jobs and continued their career together while also growing their family. When her husband deployed, and she was left behind to care for their child and work as a Marine, the reality of dual military life and the stress made her rethink her plans to stay in until retirement. As she filled out her family care plan and created a will. Thinking of who would take care of her kids if something happened to her changed her path forward. She decided to separate from the military with 10 years of service.
Traumatic Brain Injury/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Along with all the normal stressors her husband was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from an event that happened in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2004. As he worked through this, she has been there to help him and support him in sharing his story. He was awarded a Purple Heart over 15 years after the event and has been on his own healing journey. She urges veterans and those on active duty to not be afraid to reach out for help.
Pressure to Prove
She ended the interview by sharing her advice for young women looking to join the military. She told them that they earned their spot and don’t need to kill themselves trying to prove they belong. The pressure to prove themselves has already been done through the work they have done. Do your best and work hard, but you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone.
Connect with Hana:
Check out her Blog: www.semperag.com
“But when I do decide to spill my guts on my little corner of the internet, I like to write about our life as a military family, the challenges we face, the good things we experience, and everything in between. Sometimes I’m serious, sometimes I’m not. Sometimes I just share posts with nothing but photos taken in poor lighting from my iPhone, and other times, I share a post with something deep, meaningful, spiritual, or vulnerable.” – Hana Romer
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