One way to learn about the military is by walking up to people in uniform and asking them. And that is what Trish Alegre-Smith did. In this interview, we dive into what you can gain from military service through hearing Trish’s experience. And while the military builds character and often pushes you beyond what you think you can do. I don’t think that it brings something out of you that you don’t already have. It just pushes it through and helps you grow. That quiet confidence of a young high schooler walking up to strangers was there before service. But the Air Force helped push it forward in a new way. Check out her story now.
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What can you gain from military service?
Trish was looking for a way to pay for college and started looking into the military. She had no military background, but lived in the DC metro area and saw people in uniform on the bus and metro. She would go up to them and ask them about their experience. Because of what she learned she decide to apply for a military scholarship. She was chosen for a 4-year Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. Because of her finance degree, she intended to work in Finance or Acquisitions but instead, she selected to work in Aircraft Maintenance.
Trish struggled with her new role of being an Aircraft maintainer. But she also had great leaders and mentors to help her in her new role. She made a lot of mistakes but learned from them and grew into the leader she needed to be. Confidence is one of the characteristics you can gain from military service. The world changed about two years after her military service began. September 11th changed everything in the military. And for Trish personally, service took on a new level of meaning. It was something already inside her but now it wasn’t hypothetical. And eventually led to her deploying overseas. We talk more about her deployment experience in my book, Women of the Military.
Her first transition out of the military was from active duty to Reserves. And it ended up being a great choice for Trish and her family as she served as an Individual Mobilized Augmentee (IMA) but when they moved to a remote base and her husband was in a command position with limited childcare and no family/support network. Things became difficult. She had to figure out what the best choice was for her family. Even if, it was not the choice she had envisioned for herself.
It took three years to find herself after leaving the military to be a stay-at-home mom. And it was through NMSN that she was able to find a path to where she is today. Today she is a successful photographer in the DC area working corporate events and her work has been published in Ameriforce media’s magazines.
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