Is military life like a rollercoaster? If you answered no, you need to listen to Annie’s story this week on the Women of the Military Podcast.
Annie had her degree and was unable to find a job and as she was walking to interviews she passed the recruiting station for the Army. Growing up as a military brat she knew about the military and decided to join. Four days later she was headed off to Bootcamp and began her military career.
Because she had her degree she was an E-3 and the highest ranking enlisted member. This gave her additional responsibilities during boot camp and she worked hard to get through it. Even facing injuries (mainly shin splints) she would march on crutches at the back of the pack.
After graduating from AIT she headed off to jump school. While at jump school she was offered the opportunity to be a Black Hat instructor. But her time there was cut short when her father intervened and got her moved to Fort Bragg. She was one of the first 100 women integrated into the 82nd Airborne. She said the leadership was determined to make integrating women a success and she enjoyed her time there.
Rollercoaster of Military Life
When her contract ended, she asked to stay another year, they agreed, but also told her she needed to have a plan for what was next. If she wanted to stay in the military, she should consider becoming an officer. She ended up getting direct commission and while at training for the medical corps she was given the opportunity to become a helicopter pilot.
Her first assignment in Alabama had her doing humanitarian missions along with work for the Army and she really enjoyed her time there. Next, she moved to Germany. She was welcomed by a sign that read “Any Female Lt.” She knew that this was not going to be a welcoming environment. And with each new commander, it would only get worse.
Luckily, she was given the job of driving around a General for a week and within the first thirty minutes of their time together he asked her about her plans with the military and she told him she was getting out and why. He was able to get her reassigned to a hospital at Ramstein. There she had a much better work assignment and was able to do a lot of positive changes to help patients get seen. She also got married and left the military.
She transitioned from service member to military spouse and struggled with identity. But was able to get involved in the military spouse community and stayed active. In 2018, she launched Leader Transition Institute. Things were growing slowly and then with the onset of COVID they were quickly able to pivot to an online model and have been able to help so many people.
Advice for the next generation
She tells women to join the military. The path has been laid for you to do so much, but make sure to keep your principles and values. Find a group of women you can trust and lean into the experiences of the women who have gone before you.
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