A “Go Navy News” Reader Shares a Life in the Navy

It’s been one year now since my Leaders to Sea tour of the USS Truman, the aircraft carrier now supporting operations in Afghanistan. My amazing experience onboard drove me to build the Go Navy News website and blog. A year later, I am delighted at how my efforts are playing a small part to inform people and promote the Navy. Today, I share an inspirational e-mail I recently received (reprinted with gratitude and Lauren’s permission). Let’s all pull together to help make a better world for Lauren’s and Jason’s beautiful, nearly one-year-old daughter, Stella Rose!

And whenever you are in a position to hire an employee, look for retired military personnel and their spouses. They are smart, mature and used to responsibility. (And to being on time!) Here’s Lauren’s story.

Aloha Mr. Posey,

I am a proud Navy spouse hailing from the great city of Houston, Texas, where my husband and I were both born and raised. Over the past five years, the Navy has afforded us both the greatest of opportunities. I want to share my experiences with you, because like you, the Navy has inspired me in many ways. Based on experience and education alone, joining the Navy was the best decision my husband ever made for our family.

My husband, Jason, joined the United States Navy as an Aviation Electrician (AE) in 2005. Our first destination was Jacksonville, Florida, where we served three years at Naval Station Mayport. During our time in Florida, my husband mastered the electrical components of the Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk, an anti-submarine helicopter. It was also during our time in Jacksonville that my husband would go “underway” for the first time, but who knew it would be to serve time in a sandbox?

In 2006, my husband selected for an individual augmentation (IA) to Camp Bucca in Iraq. He was attached to an Army unit, trained for four months, and then sent to Umm Qasr, Iraq for an entire year. While he was in Iraq, I spent my days working for a group of financial advisors at a well known brokerage firm. I was 22 years old, still green as can be and truly alone for the first time in my life. While I was in college part-time, I yearned for something more. As I became more acquainted with the financial industry, my interest in fulfilling a Series 7 license peaked. [Series 7 is an exam required to become a financial securities representative.] Every day after work over “summer vacation,” I would curl up with my Series 7 materials and my dog and I would study for hours. On July 2nd, 2007, I passed the Series 7 exam on my first attempt. It was a glorious feeling.

Several months later my husband returned home from Iraq as a decorated veteran. We were given our choice of orders as a reward for spending a year in Iraq. Together we chose orders to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 37 at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base in Hawaii. I reached out to a branch manager within my firm in Honolulu and he was able to hire me as a branch level Registered Client Associate, where I worked for seven financial advisors and as the back-up for operations. While my husband studied to complete qualifications to become a work center supervisor at his new command, I focused on preparing for my Series 66.

It wasn’t long after I passed the Series 66 that my husband was assigned to a detachment. At the Naval aviation level, a detachment is a group of maintainers and aircrew who go out to sea aboard a ship, much like the aircrew from VFA-32 you met aboard the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman. At HSL-37 there are five detachments constantly attaching and detaching to the ships in Pearl Harbor’s fleet. My husband’s detachment went out to sea aboard the USS Chafee (DDG-90), an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer. Throughout his travels through the Pacific Ocean, he spent time in many other countries including Singapore, Japan, Bahrain, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Guam, and China.

It was only days before my husband was to leave for deployment that we found out we would be welcoming our first daughter into the world only one month after he was scheduled to return home from deployment. While he traveled the World, I focused on working, finishing my associate’s degree and preparing for our first child.

We welcomed our daughter Stella Rose into the World with open arms and hearts on September 28th, 2009. She was an amazing motivational force in our lives. We decided it would be best for me to stay home with our daughter while I finished my Bachelors program at Hawaii Pacific University. Thanks to the Navy we were able to make this work. We relocated to military housing on Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, where the military gave us a beautiful two-story, three bedroom house with everything we could ever need only a short walk away. Now, I wake up every morning to my beautiful daughter, I run three miles around the beach on-base, and I go to school full-time. I am proud to say that I will be completing my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration next May.

Unfortunately, while my husband was out to sea, he seriously injured his back. Though the military performed surgery, it is apparent that this is going to be an injury he will deal with for a long time. Given the circumstances, we’ve decided that it is best to transition back to civilian world. Over the next ten months, we will undergo the rigorous task of re-establishing ourselves as civilians. In June 2011, my husband and I will be switching roles. I will rejoin the workforce with multiple degrees and licenses in hand, and my husband will experience life as full-time dad and student, thanks to the 9/11 G.I. Bill.

If there is anything my husband or I can do to help you increase awareness of and appreciation for the Navy, please let me know. I think it is wonderful that you took part in the Leaders to Sea program and have taken it upon yourself to spread the word. The Navy needs more people like you in the civilian community. Thank you for supporting people like us.


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