Serving as a Navy Corpsman

Colleen served in the Navy as a Corpsman (medical professional). She was looking for a way to pay for college and a path forward and the Navy gave her that opportunity. She had a hard time picking the right job but was able to secure a spot in the coveted corpsman career field. She headed off to boot camp when a spot became open last minute. She didn’t feel prepared but was able to get through the training.

Serving as a Navy Corpsman

After boot camp, she went to lab technician school. She ended up not passing the school and was left in limbo status waiting for orders. While she was awaiting orders she had the chance to be on a ship. They were preparing for deployment and needed a female corpsman and her Master chief needed the role filled and was able to secure her the orders. Sometimes it takes years before Corpsmen can be on a ship and normally they spend time in a hospital or a clinic. But she was in the right place at the right time and was able to get the orders for her ship.

She deployed twice while assigned to her ship and got to see Africa, Asia, and Australia. She had a lot of memorable experiences. And there was always a lot of work to do while she was out at sea. At the end of those two years, she wanted to have some say in her next assignment. But the Navy had other ideas. They were going to send her where the needs of the Navy needed her. She knew about an option to leave the Navy early and put in her package to leave with 19 months left on her contract. She was able to get out of the Navy and start her new career.

From Hawaii to Illinois

After leaving the military she got married and moved with her then-husband to Hawaii. At the end of that tour, he decided to get out of the military and she ended up leaving Hawaii a month early to start to get settled in her new life in Illinois. She used the GI Bill work-study program to get a job working for the VA. And learn about the VRC that allowed her to bypass the USAjobs system and get a job in the federal government much faster.

Today she is working to build her own business helping veterans. She created Less BS for Vets and wants to help make the transition process out of the military easier.

Mentioned in this episode:

Lorraine Diaz: Lingering Effects of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Women of the Military Mentorship program

Connect with Colleen:

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