I Was Born Into The Army
|by Sabrina Olazarra
I was born into the army. My grandfather served in WWII and the Korean War and my father served during the Vietnam War Era. I grew up as a dependent in the US Army. I was one the lucky kids who got to see the world, Korea and all over Europe. As I grew up, my family had a tradition that some one needed to join a military branch.
I was the very first female in my family to join the US Army. I was 34 at the time, had 2 teenagers and had college credits, but not enough to get my bachelor’s degree. As an older female joining the Army, it was hard. It was never easy. Even though I had connections in the army, I didn’t want special treatment. I was the oldest in my cycle in basic training. I was singled out a lot because I was older than everyone. The drill Sergeants were amazed that I didn’t crack during basic, and often asked me why I didn’t break. I explained to them when you have a full Korean mother, who is constantly yelling at you your entire life, you tend to get numb to the yelling and all the punishments endured.
I went to AIT at Fort Lee where I went to quartermaster school to become an culinary arts specialist. Once I graduated, my first duty station was Ft Campbell, KY where I was assigned to 3-187 Rakkasans. I was lucky to deploy within a month after I got to my duty station. I went to Afghanistan to be support for the Rakkasans where they had three hot square meals a day. Being a female surrounded by males for nne months was an experience. It wasn’t easy because I was surround by infantryman. But they had respect for me because I actually cared about what they ate, and always asked them what kind of foods that they missed from home and actually make it for them. During deployment I received three unit coins. Not from just my unit, but also a pathfinder unit that we supported. I got back from deployment, and found out that I was suffering from injuries from the deployment. I had to make a decision whether to stay in and suck it up or get out. I had to hang my uniform up because of my health. But, I miss it everyday. It was a privilege to be in the US Army.