What Envision by WorldStrides program did you participate in?
I attended the National Youth Leadership Forum: National Security—Diplomacy, Intelligence & Defense in the summer of 2018.
What was the most meaningful moment of the program for you?
This is a tough one! We got to visit some extraordinary places and meet incredible people, making the program packed with meaningful moments. If I had to choose the most meaningful moment, it would probably be from our visit to the Pentagon. Going in and witnessing the horrors and hearing the stories of 9/11, one of the most tragic and influential events in our nation’s history, really hit me hard. Seeing where the airplane took out part of the building, the memorial for those who had fallen, the crafts made by school children to honor the victims, the scroll of names on the wall, the bench made from the fallen towers, and uniforms that rest on the ground remaining untouched almost two decades later. It was a life-changing experience that I am honored to have had. My time there will stick with me forever.
How did this Envision program help shape your decision to join the National Guard?
The program helped shape my decision to join the National Guard by introducing me to all sorts of career opportunities that could help me have an impact on protecting our nation. Getting to listen to qualified speakers and make connections with some knowledgeable and prestigious individuals was huge. I was introduced to all sorts of great concepts, such as different academies and educational institutions, as well as careers within the NSA, CIA, FBI, and all of the branches of the military.
What else motivated you to join the National Guard?
There were many reasons I was motivated to join the Army National Guard. First and foremost is the opportunity to serve my country and be ready to step into action as a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. It feels good knowing I am helping give back to my community. Getting the chance to learn a trade is definitely valuable. The part-time aspect works well for me as I plan on running for the title of Miss Rodeo Oregon and representing my state, which would not be possible as a full-time soldier. It is also a great way to prepare and help me toward my goal of an appointment at the United States Military Academy West Point.
It's well-known that Basic Combat Training is challenging, intense, and demanding. Are you doing anything to prepare for that?
Yes! I work out a minimum of five days a week and work hard to fuel my body with a healthy diet. I typically lift weights with our unit’s sniper section every morning and aim to do at least 30 minutes of cardio on top of that at some point in my day. Once a month, I go to training for drill and do a PT test that prepares me for the actual military side of the equation. I strive to keep myself motivated and disciplined throughout my journey, so I can maintain my physical and mental fitness for Basic Combat training and beyond!
What is your military occupational specialty (MOS)? And, how did you get assigned that role?
My MOS is 15U, which is a Chinook-47 Helicopter Repairer. The great thing about the Army National Guard is you have the ability to help choose your MOS. To qualify for this MOS, I had to score at least 104 in the Mechanical Maintenance portion of the ASVAB test. Other than that, it was my choice to sign the contract as a 15U.
Training is one weekend per month plus two weeks each year. What else will you be doing while not training?
While not training, I will be busy working, furthering my education, spending time with my friends and family, volunteering in my community, competing in team roping, practicing the guitar, welding, and playing with my puppy.
How does service connect with your long-term career goals?
This service connects to my long-term goals by helping me branch out and giving me an opportunity to work my way up the ladder. After West Point, I am thinking about a career in aviation. I can totally see myself in leadership roles and being an influential person someday. After my military service, I am interested in a career within one of our national defense agencies. I have had relatives tell me I could strive to be a political figure, so who knows? I have a few routes to consider. None the less, I want to continue serving my country.
What advice do you have for others considering service?
My advice for others considering joining is to do your research because I truly believe there are plenty of opportunities that can benefit anyone. As far as the career aspect goes, it is important to understand that you get what you put into the experience. While the military may not be for everyone, I certainly believe that there are many cool opportunities for those who are willing to put in the work and maintain a positive attitude.
Will you keep us posted on your journey?
Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I just want to take a moment to thank you for this opportunity and for the amazing experiences I had through your program! If anyone has any further questions or would like to get in touch, feel free to contact me. I am happy to help and making connections is something I am always open to. Follow me on Instagram @mere_bear_14 to keep up with my journey!
Thanks to Meredith Moore for sharing her journey. If you or someone you know is in a military or security career path, the National Youth Leadership Forum: National Security—Diplomacy, Intelligence & Defense program may be a great fit!