Jenn decided to join the military after attending a meeting for her high school sweetheart who was joining the Air Force. She had never considered military service but that one meeting changed everything. Even though she was only a junior in high school she knew she wanted to serve in the Air Force. She was in the delayed entry program for almost two years. All that time she never picked a job in the Air Force and instead went in open general. This led her to be selected for the one job she never wanted, security forces.
Not knowing the need to pick a job in the Air Force
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Jenn enlisted without a career field and did not enjoy boot camp. She knew there were lots of job options in the military but didn’t think it was important to pick one. All she knew was she did not want her job in the Air Force to be security forces, but that was the career field the Air Force gave her. In the end, up not able to complete the training for the security forces career field due to an injury and was reclassed as a personnelist. She was happy with her new career field and began her career in Arizona.
Everything was going well until she received an assignment to England. Her husband at the time had just been picked up for a program to become an officer and in order for them to be stationed together would not be able to go to the officer program. The assignment manager also told her if she rejected the assignment she would be sent to Korea. She was pregnant at the time so the Korea assignment would be pushed back until after her daughter was born. At that moment, she felt betrayed by the Air Force and in the end, decided to leave the military.
Military Member to Military Spouse
She found an internship opportunity to help her achieve rank as a civilian working for the federal government. When she was about to graduate her husband received orders and she was unable to complete the program and moved. She struggled to find a career and finally found a job as a temp secretary and then followed that with a full-time secretary position. It wasn’t what she was hoping for but it was a good job. Eventually, it was time for her husband’s next assignment and they moved to Maxwell AFB. She ended up working as a secretary in the Officer Training School and as she helped the officer trainees she saw herself and was encouraged to apply by her boss.
Becoming an officer
She was accepted and went back into the Air Force as an officer. Her first assignment was in Arizona back at the first base she was at when she joined. She and her husband had recently divorced and she talked about the challenge of starting over with three kids. Eventually, her ex-husband was able to follow her to Arizona and they were able to co-parent together at a number of their assignments for the rest of his career.
We also discussed the challenges of deploying and what her experience was like being a mom and working to stay connected to her kids while she was separated from them.
She encourages women to consider the military. She sees it as a stepping stone to your career. You do not have to serve twenty years to see the benefits.
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