Tiffany almost joined the Marine Corps as a member of the military band but would have to wait six months to go on active duty and she didn’t want to wait. She wanted to go on active duty now. She ended up becoming a Religious Affairs Specialist and spent most of her time in that career field. Facing a MST became the biggest challenge she faced in the military and was only able to find healing through counseling. But the Army betrayed her trust and unfortunately, her story highlights the problems within the military in regards to Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
Tiffany served in the Army for 24 years, the first nine years she served on active duty and then transferred to the Reserves. She was mobilized three times in the Reserves. She served as Active Guard Reserves for 2 years as a recruiter. And then for the last six years, she was an Advanced Individual Training Instructor for Reserve and National Guard soldiers re-classifying from their previous Military Operational Speciality Code to become a Religious Affairs Specialist.
She decided to switch from active duty to Reserves at the nine-year point because she wasn’t ready to commit to serving the next eleven years in the military to get to retirement. She had always wanted to be a medic so she went off to training. Unfortunately, she didn’t graduate from the training and went back to being a Religious Affairs Specialist. But transitioning to the Reserves was not as easy as she expected. On the one hand, it kept her connected to the military, but the culture was so different than active duty.
One of the things she talked about was relying on the people she worked for. She thought it was important to empower those under her by using their recommendations. As the leader, she knew the ultimate responsibility would lie on her so she used the team to help make choices. But making the final choice on how to proceed forward. She said it helped inspire those around her to commit to the mission because they had their voices heard.
Passing on her knowledge to the next generation
She ended up serving twenty-four years instead of twenty. Because she absolutely loved her last assignment as an AIT instructor. She loved getting a chance to pour into the next generation of military members who were about to embark on their careers.
Facing a MST
She faced a military sexual trauma event by a friend that she trusted. And dealing with the incident was hard but the mental strain after the event was even more challenging. And even though things did not end up the way she had hoped. She found healing through the serenity prayer
“To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”
She shifted her focus away from the trial and the results to healing mentally. Unfortunately, the military’s system for handling MST cases is flawed and you can learn more about the process and what is being advocated for in Episode 47 of the Spouse Angle Podcast. She went through a cognitive therapy counseling session and it forced her to talk about and deal with the pain so that she could move forward no matter what the outcome of the trial was.
After being found guilty for two of the three counts the information was sent forward to big Army for a final decision but was kicked back. When it was kicked back a retrial took place without Tiffany’s knowledge and he was allowed to stay in the Army.
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