April is the month of the military child. Cathy-Ann Alexander wrote a children’s book from her daughter’s experience of being a soldier’s daughter called Mya the Soldier’s Daughter. In 2017, Cathy deployed to Afghanistan and had her daughter stay with her sister in Canada. It was a hard year for both her daughter and her. They both grew through their experience. And the book Mya the Soldier’s Daughter, covers some of the challenges May faced in the year of being separated. But this interview doesn’t just focus on Cathy Ann’s deployment but instead covers many different aspects of her time in the military over the twenty-three years of service that continues today.
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Cathy-Ann Alexander immigrated to the US from Grenada in 1989. When she graduated from college she couldn’t find a job and decided to join the military. Even though she had her degree she wasn’t a naturalized citizen yet. And therefore, did not pursue the officer path. She found boot camp challenging but excelled physically. Next, she went to Advanced Individual Training. Because her class didn’t start for six weeks, she had to do whatever duty was assigned to her. Once class began she enjoyed it.
Off to the cold
Her first assignment was at Fort Drum, NY. It was cold but had an intimate environment among the soldiers. There she learned how much she loved to teach. She also deployed for training to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. After her first assignment, she decided to leave active duty and became a teacher. She also continued to serve in the Reserves. In 2003, she was mobilized to Fort Dix, NJ to help prepare members for overseas deployments. In 2001, she became a citizen. And in 2006, she became an officer through a direct commission. She continued to serve in the Reserves with occasional activations.
Deploying to Afghanistan
In 2017, she found out she would be deploying to Afghanistan. As a single mom, she knew that she had to find someone to watch her four-year-old daughter. The best option was to send her daughter to live with her sister in Canada. During her deployment, she served in the role of Medical Advisor responsible to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Police Hospital Commander, Afghan National Depot Commander, and was also responsible for the medical logistics support of over 165,000 Afghan police.
Mya the Soldier’s Daughter
Reintegration and the time apart were hard on her daughter. She wanted to share her story through her love of writing. She wrote and published a children’s book from her daughter’s perspective and experience. The focus is to talk about the challenges her daughter faced in their time apart. Her daughter was involved in the whole book process and even helped pick out the clothes she wore in the book. It is important to hear the stories of children. Not just their parents when it comes to deployments and the military.
Continuing to Give Back
Cathy also created a Run/Walk Event to honor the twelve soldiers who died while she was deployed to Afghanistan. She wants to build a foundation to give back to the families. She is thankful she was able to come home from her deployment. Not everyone is so lucky.
She encourages people to join the military. She learned so much from her experience serving. It opens doors for your future.
Connect with Cathy-Ann
Books (affiliate links):
Mentioned in this episode:
Girl’s Guide to the Military: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpLsrfrX3UrvJnCG7XvGDJQ
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