This week on the podcast I’m talking with Courtney Dock and her experience of serving as a broadcast journalist in the Navy. Courtney was three years into college and was running out of money. She decided that she would try something new. One of her three ideas was to join the Marines. She talked to the Navy as well and because they could guarantee her a job in journalism. This led to her joining the Navy instead of the Marine Corps.
Serving as a Broadcast Journalist in the Navy
Courtney’s went to Basic Training during Christmas. The Navy Drill Sergeant said they could sing one Christmas carol on Christmas day. It ended up being Anchors Aweigh (the Navy song). He said this is military life and you are going to miss more Christmases and holidays in the future. She didn’t regret her decision to join but others around her might have. She was ready for what was to come. When she finished Basic Training she headed to the Defense Information School (DINFOS). DINFOS is where all the branches go for Public Affairs School. After that, she got to go to her fist base that was also her first choice Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
There she was the radio DJ. And although it was a lot of fun. She also experienced sharing news from back home just like Michelle did when she announced 9/11. For Courtney, the memory that stuck out was when she had to help prepare everyone for Hurricane Katrina that missed Cuba but hit the U.S. Telling the story of the news happening back home with the added stress of preparing for a hurricane was a stand out memory. And showed the versatility of her role in being a DJ for the base.
Out to sea
Next she was assigned to the U.S.S. Ronald Regan. It had just returned from sea when she arrived so she spent six months helping to clean up the ship and prepare it for another tour. It was hard work and she was not spending time working as a PA officer and instead was part of the crew as was everyone else assigned to the ship. Then they spent six months preparing for deployment and then six months out at sea. Her job aboard the ship was in the TV studio helping to run stories and provide updates for the crew and also provide entertainment through movies.
While she was out to sea she had a rule for going to port. She would eat one American meal and the rest was authentic to the location she was in. This often relied on pointing at pictures and not really knowing what she would get. She also would take one day to go on a Morale and Warfare tour to see something she likely would never get to see again.
From West to East Coast
Her last assignment was at the Pentagon. She ran a daily TV news update focused on the stories of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the end of the three year assignment she was planning for the next assignment as the Navy was reshaping their forces. She couldn’t continue in the job she was in and would be forced to cross train and it wasn’t the right choice for her. But as a new mom she also knew she needed to find a job quickly. She networked with everyone. Telling them what she was looking for and where. And when her supervisor got a call with someone looking for a PAO who was a veteran she knew who would be a good fit.
The job led to her career working as a civilian for the Army. And she has moved from that original job she still works for the Army as a civilian.
Trust your gut
When I asked her for advice for young women considering military service she said that she couldn’t tell women what to do. But they should trust their gut and do what is right for them. The military does have challenges, especially for women. But the military is only as good as the people serving in it and if you feel led to call you can help make changes for the better.
Mentioned in this episode:
A Girl’s Guide to Military Service Book