I am proud to salute my nephew Brennan Olsen who was accepted into West Point
. Olsen is an example of what can be achieved when you set the bar high. Olsen's story is an inspiration to young people everywhere as he embarks on his journey, making the transition from ideal candidate to promising lieutenant. Why Did You Choose WEST POINT?
I chose West Point because it is an amazing opportunity to give back to our country, to serve, lead, and see the world. I also knew it was one of the premiere schools in the U.S. which added to my interest even more, along with the military aspect. West Point
will be a great place for me to develop my skills to become a leader of character, a scholar, and a man of integrity.What Did It Take To Get Into WEST POINT?
I have been preparing for West Point
pretty much all my life. As a young boy I had a knack for finding the military booths at the fairs and rodeos. I had always wanted to serve and was fascinated with the U.S. military. Throughout my whole school career I strived for the best grades I could get, which happened to be all A’s, a 4.0 GPA. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I learned of West Point, and luckily I already had the mind set to strive for the best and had the grades and sports already, I just had to keep them up. In preparing for West Point
and just enjoying high school, I participated in numerous sports such as football, cross-country, track, and wrestling, some even as team captain. In school I kept my GPA at a 4.0 and aspired for the harder classes such as AP, or advanced placement, and honors classes such as physics or medical opportunities. Preparing for the SAT and ACT and performing well on those was an important part of the process in obtaining admission, as those scores will have quite a bit of influence. Aside from sports and school, it was important to get involved in the community. Things such as painting the community center with my church, participating in beach clean-up, blood drives, and assisting with the Colton Mat Club were some of the community service opportunities I took part in. All these three things come together to complete the ideal profile of a West Point
candidate. In the sense of recommendations, it is a long process. Numerous letters of recommendation are needed from teachers to be sent to the state’s senators and one’s own representative as well as the vice president, along with information about one’s self and a letter requesting nomination.What Were Some Of The Challenges You Faced Along The Way?
Along the way I faced a few challenges, such as difficult classes, the ACT and SAT, my own personal injuries in sports, and an overwhelming amount of paperwork. I would say the best way to avoid these challenges, or at least reduce the difficulty of these challenges, would be to study and exercise. For the tests study in advance and for the physical test, practice. The basketball throw in the CFA, candidate fitness assessment, was possibly the most difficult portion of the test. I also struggled with my pull-ups.What Will Your MOS (Military Operations Specialty) and Rank Be?
My MOS has not been chosen yet, as we as a class progress through the academy we will put in a ranked system. When the end of our schooling career comes to an end we will be able to choose our MOS depending on class rank. I myself want to operate an apache or black hawk helicopter. At graduation my rank will be Second Lieutenant.
How Long Will You Serve In The Army After WEST POINT?
After West Point
is a required five years active duty and three years reserve.What Prompted You To Serve?
For me, serving is something I have wanted to do since I was quite young. As a young boy I was fascinated by the history of World War II and all things military. I have always felt that serving through the military would allow me to give back to my country, to protect the ones I love, and provide others with the opportunity to have a great life.What Advice Do You Have For Someone Considering To Serve?
For someone who is considering serving, I would tell them to do it if that’s what their heart is telling them. You can’t serve because someone else wants you to or doesn’t want you to; it has to be all your decision. Only you can decide for yourself what is right. If you do choose to serve, give it your all, put yourself completely, into everything; academics, sports, and community. Never give up and you will get to where you want to be. THANK YOU BRENNAN OLSEN FOR CHOOSING TO SERVE!
Specialist E-5 Ronald Webb
Army Specialist E-5 Ronald Webb served his country on many fronts often working closely with the Navy. Webb’s MOS was Clerical and Administration. This particular MOS would give him opportunities to witness history in ways other soldiers couldn’t.
Webb first served in US Army Alaska in the office of Commanding General in a clerical administrative nature. He then served in Virginia at Fort Myers
with JAG (Judge Advocate General Corps
) where his duties were legal in nature. At the Pentagon
Webb served in the Office of Commanding General US Army, with top security clearance. In Vietnam he was Congressional Investigation, Classified. Later in Vietnam he was J-3 MAC Intelligence
attached to the Navy and also served as Adviser/Administrator to Vietnamese engineers. Webb received the Army Commendation Medal
given by Navy Commander with General Westmoreland's signature and other standard service ribbons for Vietnam.What was the training and prep for your MOS?
Clerical Administrative school U.S. Army
Continuing education: Alaska State University Business College in Washington, D.C. University of Maryland What did you like most about serving?
Camaraderie with fellow soldiers, knowing, we're in Vietnam together.What prompted you to serve?
I come from a small town (economics, played a part), where blue collar patriotism flourishes. In plain spoken words: Red, white, and blue. What was some of the greatest challenges you faced?
Culture and language barriers in Vietnam. What was the most rewarding experience?
I gained a perspective of how the world views an "ugly American," and at times understand their views. How freedom endures, and the fact that it is our obligation as a "free" nation to help others in need, is, and should remain, our commitment. How did serving affect your family? Did they find their part of service rewarding?
Actually, it accelerated a pending divorce (sad to say) that looking back was inevitable. Grandfather was in WWI, Father was also in service. Brother was serving in Europe with U.S. Army. Extended family took pride in my service. However, when returning to college (you know) the problems we faced as a Vietnam Veteran in college at that time in history. (No respect for us). What was your opportunities as a veteran?
G.I. Bill where I earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Science. I never would have been able to do that without the GI Bill. I then went on to become an instructor for HazMat Safety
Today, Web has written a couple of poetry books, Treasure Chest of Poems
and Treasurer Chest of Poems 2
. Webb recently began working on his first novel. THANK YOU SPECIALIST E-5 RONALD WEBB FOR YOUR SERVICE!
Both in Greatfalls, Mt. back from Iraq
E-4 Specialist Kimberly Pelkey (Blakeley) and E-4 Specialist Bradley Blakeley joined the Army starting out on different paths and from different areas those paths would ultimately cross in Iraq.
Pelkey wanted to be in the Marines. She wanted to be airborne, but the Marines only allowed men in the airborne program because it was considered a combat role and her eye sight was bad so she failed the Marine’s physical. That is when she was approached by the Army. The Army did let women into their airborne program so Pelkey signed up. Her Army contract had her in boot camp, them AIT for 77 Foxtrot,
then jump school. By the time jump school came around, Pelkey had troubles with her knees and then embraced her MOS at 77 Foxtrot, fuel supply. What was your training for your MOS and what was your job?
Boot camp was at Fort Jackson
and AIT school (Advanced Individual Training)
was at Fort Lee, Virginia
. PVOC (Petroleum Vehicle Operator's Course)
training was in Missouri. I learned to operate fuel vehicles and big tankers. Was your job dangerous?
We got to the war just after Jessica Lynch was rescued. We watched that on the news just before we deployed from Fort Lewis
. We knew we would be stepping into harm’s way yet on the other hand we had no idea what to expect. I never fired my weapon and I was personally not on the receiving end of small arms fire, however we were taking fueling trucks and tanks on roads where IUDs and roadside bombs were everywhere. We would convoy fuel to smaller camps and vehicles outside of camps.
The camps were rough in the beginning of the war. The tents didn’t have floors and so you were literally living in a sand pit. There were no latrines either in the first camps. We would cut barrels in half and use those then burn it.
The camps were vulnerable to mortar fire and came under fire on several occasions and by the grace of God we didn’t have any injuries or deaths. We did have a RPG fired through our concrete barrier while I was on guard duty one early morning, but the mortars were the scariest. What prompted you to serve?
I always wanted to be in the military. I remember hearing that song… “All that you can be” as a preschool age child. What were some of the greatest challenges you faced?
Freedom at 19, I had a lot of growing up to do. The majority of the time I was under a chain of command, but when I did have personal time, making the right choices. Also you have to learn to get along with other people from different areas and other walks of life. What was the most rewarding experience?
I enjoyed the military and I liked being part of a team. I also liked experiencing every area of the Army in my eight and half years; Active duty, inactive duty, active reserve and then back to active duty. I enjoyed being on post and deployments.
I also met Jesus during the deployment, while we were in Kuwait, waiting to convey up, into Iraq. I was always searching for happiness in the next adventure. I wasn’t able to live in the moment. I remembered thinking, is this it? Is this all there is? When I met Jesus I finally found love and peace. How did serving affect your family?
My parents had two children in Iraq at that time, so I imagine they were nervous. My siblings were proud of me. My first husband and I met in the Army when I first enlisted. We married and had two children. When we divorced I was far away from my family and didn’t have a circle of support. I also needed to make extra money and the Army was already something I knew how to do so I went active reserve then got called up after 9-11. That meant I also had an ex-husband back home with two small children. I was gone for fifteen months and that separation was extremely difficult.
When soldiers have to leave their families behind, it is always difficult. I was a solider before my husband or children came along. Being in the military is something I am really proud of. Whenever I step back onto a base, I really miss that. On the other side of it, I hope I am not in a situation where I get separated from my family again, but I was proud to do my part when I was called upon.
When you choose to serve your country, whatever your reasoning, you just do it! You raise your right hand and you swear to God that you’ll defend your country and when you are called upon it is not on your terms. You can’t suddenly say, “Oh this isn’t what I was expecting…” What were the advantages to serving?
There is a difference between going to college for four years or enlisting for active duty service, not to mention going on deployment to an overseas conflict. It teaches you how to deal with people and prepares you for life in a different way. It’s never about what you think is best for yourself or what you want. You are a willing servant. What are the disadvantages?
When I came home, after a long pity party, I learned that trauma is trauma. When I came back I was super hyper vigilant and felt I was alone in my struggle to adjust to motherhood as a single person with a lot of anger from the deep pain I experienced. I wasn’t in combat, I didn’t kill anybody, and I didn’t lose a limb, but I was a divorced 24 year old female with two very young children living in fear of knowing I might not come home to them. For me the trauma was separation and not knowing if I would come home and the guilt that came from that. The bottom line is no matter what your experience in deployment, when you come back to civilian life or station, you still have to process that, because trauma is trauma.
Everything happens for a reason. God is always good! I found my salvation while serving America in a war zone and I met my second husband at that time. I discovered there is a greater purpose and it’s not about me…It’s so much bigger than that!
Kim and local children in Al-Hilah, S. of Bagdad Multi National Camp
Brad in front of concrete/sandbagged bunker
Kim at Ancient Babylon
E-4 SP Blakeley with a sand spider in Iraq
E-4 Specialist Bradley Blakeley was with the United States Army Reserves 1996-2004. He was 77F now 77A Fuel Supply
Specialist. Fuel storage and distribution including operating fuel vehicles, 969 tankers and TPU (Tank and pump unit) as well as the typical duties of a soldier. What was your training for your MOS?
Eight weeks in Fort Lee, Virginia
with lots of classroom work to learn about Hazmat
and handling hazardous materials. We also studied fuel operations from storage, to pipelines, to railroad operations, to sling loading, fuel pumps, measuring fuel storage and recirculating fuel. This was mostly for JPS fuel. What did you like most about serving?
I liked being part of a well-trained team that was directly serving our country. I loved wearing the uniform. What prompted you to serve?
I always wanted to be in the Army. I actually went to basic training my junior year of High School and then right after my senior year I went to AIT
for my MOS training. What were the biggest challenges you faced?
Basic training was tough, but not too much of a challenge. However, my deployment to Iraq was surely the greatest challenge during my enlistment. Overcoming what the deployment brought on a day to day and surviving it. What was the most rewarding experience?
Serving overseas in a conflict and coming home to a grateful nation. How did serving affect your family?
My mamma was worried a lot, but she was proud to be the mother of a soldier. What advantages did you face re-entering civilian life?
I felt as though employers would look favorably on hiring a combat veteran. It taught me how to overcome adversities and challenges. You can persevere through more than you think you can. What disadvantages did you face re-entering civilian life?
It was difficult for a period of time. I was used to a military setting and when I came home there was no order. What is your advice to someone who is thinking of serving their country?
I would highly encourage them. Choose your MOS carefully. It is a very rewarding experience. Personally there is nothing like putting on a uniform and serving your country! Join the Air Force!
E-4 Specialist Kim Pelkey and E-4 Special Brad Blakeley met at Fort Lewis just before a deployment that took them into Iraq to serve on the same fuel team. After the deployment was over they continued to keep in touch and today are married and share a blended family. THANK YOU SPECIALIST E-4 KIM PELKEY BLAKELEY AND SPECIALIST E-4 BRAD BLAKELEY FOR YOUR SERVICE!
2nd Class Petty Officer Wayne Howie
It is my great privilege to talk with my uncle, former Petty Officer 2nd Class Wayne Howie and First Class Petty Officer Ronald Warnick. They served together in the early days of the Navy’s Nuclear Submarines.
Howie joined the Navy at 21 years old on January 28, 1962- January 24, 1968. He
originally went to college, but after two years he decided to join the Navy. He was an ET-2 (Electronic Technician) in the U.S. Navy aboard diesel and nuclear Submarines.
What was your training for your MOS?
I went to boot camp in San Diego, California. While there I also attended ICA School, (Interior Communications A school). While in ICA School some months after joining the navy months I was pulled out of class by my Commanding Officer to learn that my parents were concerned because I had not written or called home. My parents had notified the Red Cross and the Red Cross had notified the Navy. I assured my CO I would write them a letter later. He told me I would write them before leaving his office and handed me a pen and paper.
After ICA training I went to a submarine training school on the East Coast. After completing submarine training in New London Connecticut I was assigned to The Razorback SS 394, an old diesel submarine, for six months of additional training and qualification. While aboard the Razorback I was extended a couple of months to complete a WEST PAC patrol in the South Pacific Ocean.
I was then assigned to Nuclear Power School on the West Coast near San Francisco, California. That is where I learned the majority of my engineering skills and the science behind it. They poured a lot of information into six months.
After getting married in 1964 I was stationed in South Carolina and served on The James Madison SSBN 627 where Ron Warnick and I met.
What did you like most about serving?
Some of the people I met were fantastic. Ron Warnick became a lifelong friend, and now that we live in the same area, we get together with our wives for dinner every Friday. In addition to good friends, the training I received served me well throughout my civilian working career.
My most exhilarating experience came at Sea. It was viewing the awesome power of the ocean. We were almost to Japan and when we hit a typhoon with waves up to 70 feet high. Our sail was 50 feet above the water level when on the surface. On a submerged nuclear submarine you can ride out any storm, but we were in a diesel sub, The Razorback, and it had to surface about every twelve hours or come to snorkel depth which is about 50 feet below the water level. When coming back to the surface a submarine’s center of gravity is affected and has about the same stability as a rolling log. We were taking rolls of up to 70 degrees. Below deck everyone was sick and throwing up, so I volunteered to take top side watches with another crew member. We wore safety belts with “D” rings and were chained to the super structure so we couldn’t fall into the ocean. It was the middle of the night and a raging sea when I heard the officer of the deck, Lt. O’Brien, who looked like a bearded young Viking, singing. I asked him what he was singing and he sang it to me…
“In Fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Divide the son of a bitch in two, and you’ve got the electrical watts per horse power…” I’ll never forget that!
What did you like the least?
What I liked the least about the Navy was the same thing that many others loved. They had you for twenty four seven and told you what to do and when to do it. It was very structured. Those who loved structure went on to have long careers in the Navy. I was ready to be out and spend time with my wife.
First Class Petty Officer Ronald Warnick served in the United States Navy from May 11, 1960, through December 11, 1968. First Class Petty Officer Warnick attained the rate of ET1(SS), Electronics Technician First Class (Submarine Qualified) in the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program.
What was your training for your Rate?
I enlisted at Baltimore as a Nuclear Power Program recruit and was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center for basic training (boot camp) for eleven weeks. During this time I applied for the security clearance that was required for admittance into the Nuclear Power Program. Because my test scores were high and I did well in my interviews, I was classified as an ET Striker and went to school at Great Lakes, six weeks in E&EP school and then on to ET“A” School. ET was one of the rates eligible for the Nuclear Power Program. Also during this time I received my security clearance.
Next I received orders to report to the Navy’s Submarine School at New London-Groton, Connecticut. After graduation from submarine school I got orders to report to USS Entemedor, a World War II Vintage Submarine based at New London and began my career as a submarine sailor.
After about six months on Entemedor, I was transferred to the Navy’s Nuclear Power School at the submarine base for six months of classroom training, followed by six months of “hands-on” training at the submarine Proto Type in Idaho. In Nuclear Power School I did well enough to be allowed to choose the location for my Proto Type training. I chose Idaho for two reasons: (1) it was farther away from home than I’d ever been and (2) I wanted to try to get into the Pacific Fleet and felt the closer I was to the Pacific, maybe the Navy would assign me there.
Toward the end of nuclear power training we had to submit our preferences for our next duty station. I asked for a Fast Attack Nuclear Sub out of Pearl Harbor. I got orders to a Polaris Sub (USS James Madison) under construction in Newport News, Virginia. I went through construction, testing, and commissioning and then went out to sea. After commissioning, I served on the Madison for 2½ years.
Next I was assigned to the USS Lapon, a Fast Attack Sub under construction in Newport News, Virginia. Our Captain was Charles M. Mack (known as “Whitey”). Captain Mack made a name for himself and there is a whole chapter on him in the book “Blind Man’s Bluff”. I served on Lapon until my discharge from the Navy. During that time the crew received a Meritorious Unit Commendation.
I liked the Navy very much, it was hard to decide to stay or go. If I shipped over, it would put me over the half way mark (toward retirement). I decided to leave the Navy and go back to college.
What did you like most about the Navy?
I found the challenges of nuclear power, operating and maintaining the equipment, and standing watches, to be interesting. It was a lot of responsibility and pressure but I was up to it and I gave it my best.
Also I met a lot of good sailors, many of whom have remained friends ever since. One of those is Wayne Howie.
What prompted you to serve?
I had an Uncle in the Navy and an Uncle in the Army. I thought a lot about the Navy and decided if I ever went into the Military, it would be the Navy.
What did you like the least about the Navy?
I didn’t particularly like some of the people with whom I served.
What advice do you have for someone who is thinking of serving?
Keep your nose clean! You are in a situation where you don’t have the authority to do whatever you want. Someone higher up says do this or do that. You do it! You get along much better that way. Learn your job and do the best you can. Don’t try to get out of it or leave it for someone else to do and you’ll have a smoother way of it. You make your own bed both literally and figuratively. Usually those who did not like the Navy caused their own problems.
As a Veteran what have been some of the benefits?
I went to University of Wyoming on the GI Bill which allowed me to complete my degree. An added benefit was a VA loan when we purchased our first home.
THANK YOU First Class Petty Officer Ronald Warnick and Second Class Petty Officer Wayne Howie for your service!
From the American Revolutionary War to the present recent overseas contingency operations, women have served a vital role in the U.S. Army. Ever since Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley ("Molly Pitcher") replaced her husband when he collapsed at his cannon, women have continually proven that the narrow stereotype, limiting their choice of occupation, was wrong. As women expanded into different roles in the U.S. Army, it was clear that the heart of a warrior was not limited to one gender...Read more @ Women in the US ArmyTHANKS TO WOMEN IN ALL BRANCHES OF THE MILITARY FOR YOUR SERVICE!
Army Specialist Brett Rogers (right)
CN Salutes Army Specialist Brett Rogers, who is currently serving at Fort Stewart
, GA. It is his first duty station as an X-Ray Tech, 68P.
He attended basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma
and Fort Sam Houston
and finished up back at Fort Sill
. Rogers met his wife, Veteran Private First Class Sara Rogers, a 68W, combat medic/health care specialist in the Army. As Rogers begins his military career and upcoming deployment, along with beginning his family, he is faced with the challenges that surround balancing both. What are your duties?
I am in a support battalion that is gearing up to go to Afghanistan. We are focusing on inventory and packing for the deployment. As an X-Ray Tech
, I will be responsible for shooting X-Rays in the hospital.What was the training and prep for your MOS?
I spent six months in a classroom at Fort Sam Houston
, followed by six months of hands on practice at Fort Sill What do you like most about serving?
The people I have met, including my wife. What prompted you to serve?
I was looking for a way to better my future and I wanted to serve my country.
What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced?
Leaving my family in Texas was difficult for me. It is also a challenge to prepare to leave my expectant wife before the birth of our first child. What was the most rewarding experience?
I feel like I have grown a lot since joining. Not only do I have a career that I can continue in the civilian sector, but I have started a family. It is rewarding to know that I am on the right track. How does serving affect your family? Do they find their part of service rewarding?
I don’t get to see my family as much as I would like. They also have to be very flexible because I am never sure what my schedule will be like and things tend to change at the last minute. I think that sometimes it is difficult for them, but they are proud of the man I have become and they find that rewarding. You met your wife while you both in the Army. Once you chose to start a family how did you go about deciding your options?
The unit we were in is scheduled to deploy next month and we are also expecting our first child at around the same time. She would have had to stay here in GA while I deployed, away from friends and family, if she had stayed on active duty. We decided it would be best for her to get out and join the reserves. She can now go home to Montana and get support from her family while I am away. It is difficult to be dual military with children, especially in a unit that deploys so often and the decision for her to get out was best for our growing family. When scheduling for deployment, what must you do to prepare for that?
As a unit we have made sure that all of our medical and personal equipment was inventoried and shipped so that we could ship it. We also ensure that our personnel are deployment ready by going through a medical evaluation, getting needed vaccines as well as any blood/lab tests required. I have also had to ensure that my family is prepared and that they will be taken care of while I am away. What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country?
I would suggest looking at all options available. I think that an emphasis on a college education is invaluable. I wouldn’t trade my experience, or the people I have met, but I do wish I had finished schoolTHANK YOU SPECIALIST BRETT ROGERS FOR YOUR SERVICE!
Fighting the fire of 18C Hornet
Navy Veteran ABH 3 E-4 Daniel Strickland of Livingston, Montana served in the Navy from July 2007 to July 2012. As part of the USS Carl Vinson’s
first rate Crash and Salvage Techs, Strickland served on the USS Carl Vinson
and became part of history in the making.
Signing up with the Navy, Strickland wanted to be a firefighter. That would have been Disaster Control, known as a DC man on ship, but there were too many people trying for that spot. He was told Crash and Salvage was the next best thing when he found he couldn’t get into Disaster Control. What he didn’t know was he’d have to work his way up to take position and in the mean time he’d be directing planes off the flight deck and possibly not fight fires at all.
He requested a West Coast Ship to be closer to Montana when it docked. That meant the USS Carl Vinson
. But there was a catch... it was docked in New Port, Virginia under construction two years to put in a new reactor to last for the next fifty years.
That put into motion a set of circumstances where there was an opening for Crash and Salvage. There were only eleven people in B-1 flight department and so with no competition to speak of Strickland got a shot at the job he wanted. He began training for Crash and Salvage in between helping with construction on the USS Carl Vinson. Crash and Salvage was required to have two welders at that time, so he was sent to Portsmouth, Virginia to become certified in welding. He was then back on the Vinson for a month before being sent to the USS Abraham Lincoln on TAD (Temporary Assigned Duty). There he shadowed the Crash and Salvage crew there earning experience from one of the most experienced in-sync crews in the fleet.
Aboard the USS Carl Vinson
Strickland was able to become witness to and participate in moments of history. The Vinson was about to go to South Africa when the earthquake hit Haiti
. Since they were only about 600 nautical miles away, the Vinson was one of the first responders to the disaster. All planes were flown off the deck to make way for the HELO Squadron of SH 60’s and H46’s to retrieve bodies. He was also part of the skeleton crew allowed on deck when Osama bin Laden was buried at Sea off the USS Carl Vinson
. Did you ever have to use your training?
Fires on deck are rare. You usually deal with hydraulic failures or fuel spills and in the five years I served I had two fires, noting big just little stuff until the one day we got the one we were trained for…
I was training a guy, on TAD (Temporary Assigned Duty) from the Washington, and he was shadowing me that day. There were the usual ops and training flights when all of a sudden squadron 113, plane 311 a F/A-18C Hornet came in for a training touch and go, as it takes off you see flames come out of one engine and then you see flames come out of the other engine. The pilot turns and we think he’s going to eject when all of a sudden he decides to land it instead. He catches the hook and I tell myself, “I’m trained for this I know what’s going to happen here…”
After it stops, fuel from the plane engulfs the back of it in flames. A B-25 Fire truck fights it on one side and my buddy and I grab a hose from the catwalk and hit it from the other side. We go in from a 45 degree angle, sweep in and push it back having it out in four to five minutes. Hooked it on and tractor and pulled it out. It was known throughout the fleet as a perfect text book Airplane crash and firefighting. It earned 15 of us Navy Marine Achievement Metals and a meeting with the Admiral, and he gave us all his coin. (You Tube Video of event above) Why did you decide to serve?
It was more economics than anything. I was working as an EMT working toward becoming a Paramedic, working as a bartender and trying to go to college. I was looking for a way to get experience and pay for college. What did you like most about serving?
The travel, because I was able to see a lot of different places I wouldn’t have normally gone to. The people I met along the way, because I made a lot good friends and the GI Bill. What were some of the challenges?
Deployments were tough. You were gone for six months and the e-mail didn’t always work or you couldn’t get time on the computer, so it could be pretty isolating. Being away from family was hard. Then I missed my friend’s wedding and the birth of his first child and holidays with my family. It was hard to be apart. About three fourths of the people I served with had either a divorce or trouble with a cheating spouse. It was hard on everyone… What was the most rewarding thing about serving?
Only one percent of the population serves and saying I was one of them who got to serve gives me a great sense of pride. What are the advantages of serving?
Health care and the GI Bill, contributing to something bigger than yourself. What advice do you have for someone who wants to serve?
Read the contract. Know what you want to do and be prepared for what you are getting into. Be willing to make the sacrifices and do your research.THANK YOU ABH 3 E-4 DANIEL STRICKLAND FOR YOUR SERVICE!
ARMY:FRG (Family Readiness Groups) are available to aide new and established soldiers and their families as an active support system.
They get together weekly or biweekly to provide activities and support to enhance the flow of information, increase the resiliency of unit soldiers and their families, provide practical tools for adjusting to military deployments
and separations, and enhance the well-being within the unit. The activities emphasized will vary depending on whether the unit is in pre/post deployment, deployed, or in a training/sustainment period at home station. Since one of the goals of an FRG is to support the military mission through provision of support, outreach, and information to family members, certain FRG activities are essential and common to all groups, and include member meetings, staff and committee meetings, publication and distribution of newsletters, maintenance of virtual FRG websites, maintenance of updated rosters and readiness information, and member telephone trees and e-mail distribution lists.Read moreNAVY:In the Navy the programs are similar and
referred to as Navy Wives Meetup groups.
No matter what branch or where you are being stationed, search your Military base website for a group to connect with before you move to your family's new station. Make the most of getting to know the area and new friends!
A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to Jason and a group of brave men at a small firebase in a land far away.... THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, IT IS MUCH APPRECIATED!
Yeoman Second Class Nellie Baerg
CN Salutes Yeoman Second Class Nellie Baerg. Baerg came from a small town area near Frazer Montana, an Indian town. She was number nine of ten children. Baerg had spent a year assistant teaching when a teacher suggested she take the Civil Service Exam. She passed and went to work for the Dept. of Commerce in Washington DC. She then decided to sign up for the Navy.What were your duties?As Yeoman Second Class,
I was communications, working on teletype machines. I was required to send and receive coded messages. I served from 1944-1946.What did you like most about serving?
Maybe it was because I grew up on a dirt farm but I loved the people. I met so many different people from every walk of life. I made some long lasting friendships.What prompted you to serve?
I had heard they need communication officers and I wanted to go overseas. There was a war going on and I wanted to do my part. It didn’t turn out exactly like I had hoped. I took a cut in pay, lived in the barracks and had to get up early every morning to exercise. But it was still a good experience.
I was also impressed by the Dollar a Year Men
who served. They were rich men who gave of their time to serve in the war efforts and they only took one dollar a year. I met them during my Civil Service days. What were some of the greatest challenges you faced?
The greatest challenge was you had to be very accurate when using the teletype machines. Sometimes pressures from our superiors were difficult when they became impatient. It was also difficult at times to sleep hoping the code had been accurate.
A more light hearted challenge, Gone With the Wind had just been published. There was only one book and several of us girls wanted to read it. The book passed around barracks late at night. I got caught once reading it after lights out.What was the most rewarding experience?
Again, the most rewarding experience would have to be all the people I met and the places I saw.
One of my friends was from Brooklyn, New York and she’d take me home with her when she went home to see her parents.
Even though I didn’t go overseas, I loved seeing Washington DC and surrounding areas. Every Sunday, we would pick a new place to explore. What was the training and prep for your MOS?
My basic training took place at Hunters College
. Our training where we learned code and the teletype machines took place in Iowa.
How did serving affect your family? Did they find their part of service rewarding?
I was 9 of ten children and my mother died when I was young. We all took on responsibility early and became independent fast. I was closest to my youngest sister. Everybody did what they had to do. Two of my brothers were already in the Navy by the time I was.What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country?
Don’t go into it for the fun of it. Join because you can contribute something. Really make a difference.
How was serving as a woman different from a man in the 1940's and 50's?
Some of us women resented that we got stuck in an office in DC when we could have been just as useful in the field someplace.
THANK YOU YEOMAN SECOND CLASS BAERG FOR YOUR SERVICE!
World War II Teletype Machines