Becoming a JAG Corps Officer

Aniela’s path to becoming a JAG Corps officer began when she was looking for the next step as she began to explore career options when she finished college. The career options she found in the civilian sector didn’t quite fit into what she was looking for. Then one day, she saw a poster for the Marines. She realized she could join Marine Corps as a JAG officer. She went through the Delayed Entry Judge Advocate Program and served on active duty for nine years before transferring to the Reserves.

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Becoming a JAG Corps Officer

Aniela’s time in the military-led her to do a number of things she would have never done on the civilian side. She first began her career in Barstow, California. As the only JAG at the base, she gave advice to the leadership on various cases. Military JAG officers also have the opportunity to be on various trials early in their careers. She believes being JAG Corps Officer can open many doors to your future. Her next assignment took her to Quantico. There she managed the Marines across the world and had the opportunity to travel. Her favorite location to visit was Thailand.

Transitioning to the Reserves

As she approached the ten-year point in the military she decided she wanted to continue her service through the years but also focus on her career as a civilian lawyer. The only problem is she didn’t know what she wanted to do. Luckily, she had worked to help her dad as he worked through the VA claims process and was able to find a career helping veterans. This career opportunity led to the work she continues to do today.

Deploying to Afghanistan

When she transferred to the Reserves she also switched careers from JAG Corps officer to Civil Affairs. She began to work as a Civil Affairs Officer. The Reserve office needed Civil Affairs Officers for an upcoming deployment and they trained her for the career field and the deployment. She went to Afghanistan in 2011. She led a Civil Affairs team at the Company level. It was before women were formally allowed to serve in combat. And at first, the leadership worried if she would fit the role. But her team excelled. And she believes her personality led to a positive and the Afghans seeing the Marines in a more positive light. She also was able to collaborate with the Female Engagement Teams.

The flexibility of the Reserves

Aniela continues to serve in the Reserves today. The Reserves gives military members the flexibility to continue serving in the military without having to make all the sacrifices required with active duty. It is an especially great career for new moms. Moms who desire to be a homemaker, with a part-time career. Reservists also have the option to serve on active duty again if they desire later on in their career.

Connect with Aniela:

Twitter @akszymanski

Mentioned in this episode:

Military Officers Association of America

Veteran Affairs

Related Episodes:

Advocacy with MOAA

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