Tracey was planning to graduate from the Naval Academy but after two and half years of facing many challenges she decided to leave the military behind. But before she left an Army Lt Col recommended she consider Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) which she did pursue and graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1991. She was surprised when she found out she would be working as a Air Defense Artillery. It wasn’t the path she expected but it ended up being a great career.
Deploying to Saudi Arabia
Shortly after finishing her training and heading to her first assignment she found out that she would be deploying to Saudi Arabia. It was a great opportunity to deploy. She did face challenges. Because she was a woman she couldn’t drive a car and was not allowed to sit in the front of the bus. It was hard to have a double standard that didn’t have limitations put on them based on their gender. She was also the one of two women officers.
Transferring to Germany to be with her husband
Shortly after returning home from the the deployment she was able to get transferred to Germany to be stationed with her husband. She and her husband were ready to have children and even though she did not think the leadership would support her being pregnant they continued trying to have a baby. After a few months she got pregnant. When she gave her profile to her commander he suggested she break the rules because there was an exercise coming up. She choose to put her health and the health of her baby and said no.
She was able to continue working and preparing for the exercise. Eventually, the exercise happened and she briefed and participated within the confines of her profile. The evaluators seemed to be dismayed by having a pregnant women working the crazy hours. But it all worked out.
To go or stay
She was planning to stay in the military but as the month of her pregnancy drew on her husband suggested one of them get out of the military. In the end, they decided she would get out and he would continue to serve. She became a military spouse and one month later became a mom. She didn’t work again outside of volunteer opportunities for ten years. She also gained her masters and Ph.D. in that time as well.
Losing her husband
Her husband deployed many times, but he died in a traffic accident while working at the embassy in ??? It was hard and unexpected. But when they asked what she needed she said she needed to stay where she was so her son could finish school so he could attend West Point. From August to May life was a fog and she didn’t know what was coming next. But in May she decided they would move back to Washington DC. Her husband is buried at Arlington and she wanted to be close enough that she could have a cup of coffee with him at his grave.
Working for DoD
When she came back to DC she didn’t have a job and didn’t know what was next but she ended up working for the Department of Defense using her Ph.D. She continues to work for DoD and you can learn more about the work she is doing on social media.
Her advice for women
Besides lock your doors and sleep with scissors next to you. She also encourages women to join. There are so many opportunities out there and open doors can lead to opportunity.