The Fulfillment Of A LifeLong Dream

Updated: Sep 9, 2020


Strong, resilient and tough are only a few of things that can be used to describe the spouse of a military service member. Being a military spouse, or a military dependent for that matter, is no easy feat for so many reasons.

When I met Rachael, I was in awe of everything she had already accomplished, and everything she clearly still plans to accomplish.

On Tuesday, July 21st, 2020, Rachael fulfilled her lifelong dream, donned her Navy uniform for the very first time, and was commissioned into the United States Navy as a Naval Officer.

I asked Rachael to share her story with me, and how she decided that this was the path for her:

I come from a long line of Marines, Dad, grandpa, great grandpa, uncles, cousins the whole nine. I also have a host of other family members who have served in all branches of the military. Growing up I honestly thought it was the “family business”. Did you ever watch the show JAG? Well when I was little I always wanted to be Major Sarah Mackenzie. She was a badass Marine Corps JAG attorney. For every career day, I dressed up like a lawyer because I knew that is what I wanted, to be a Marine Corps lawyer. I was a Sea Cadet in middle school, I was in JROTC in high school, suffice to say I have been committed to this dream. In college I tried to drop out and enlist in the Navy, but my Devil Dog of a grandpa told me to finish my degree and join later if I still desired to. My education was more important to him. So I finished college and went to law school. In law school I started the application process for Marine Corps JAG. During the physical fitness test my stomach locked up in the middle of the sit ups portion. I failed the test that day, but found out I was pregnant that night. I put my dreams of military service on hold so I could have my daughter. I went on to finish law school with my baby, and with my husband deployed for most of it. After graduation we focused on his career and family life and I also had another child. My husband’s career then took him out of the country for more time than he was in it for the next 5 years

Putting life on hold, and your own dreams, is a really familiar story for many military spouses, myself included. Deployments, solo pregnancies and parenting, PCS moves across the country and across the world, are just some of what we commit to when marrying into the military.

None of this really stopped Rachael, not one bit. While she may have put her dreams “on hold” so to speak, she still finished law school while she waited for her opportunity to join the service. And she did this with a baby and while her husband was on deployment! Strength is clearly an understatement. And the first opportunity she had to go for it, she did:

Finally last year, he was able to be stateside more and we decided as a family that now was as good a time as ever for me to finally go after my goal of joining the military

She had a dream, and while it may have taken her a little longer to accomplish it, she went for it and there was no stopping her:

The officer application process is much more in depth than just signing up at a recruiter's office. I had to write a personal essay, do multiple interviews with high ranking officers, medical exams and intense background investigation. The program I chose within the Navy is highly competitive and I was told to expect to possibly not get selected this go around and to be ready to reapply during the next cycle in October. So, selection results came out and I received a hysterical call from my recruiter shouting that I was selected! Me, the military spouse mom of two with a law degree she doesn’t use, was selected to become a Naval Officer!

Rachael was also recently hired as AVIVV’s Procurement Lead, and was selected after she was hired. AVIVV is a proud supporter of veteran and military spouse employment. The whole team was excited to celebrate Rachael acceptance into the United States Military, and be able to watch her commissioning virtually.

Yesterday was the day I donned my Navy uniform for the first time. My husband and my oldest pinned my rank on my shoulders. Yesterday my life came full circle. I turned my dream into a goal and my goal into reality”, Rachael recounted, “Going the reserve route fits our family, my husband is still active duty and I have a great job here at AVIVV

Having companies like AVIVV out there are essential to support the military spouse demographic. Sadly there is very little data available to show the real unemployment rates, but the Blue Star Families Online lifestyle survey in 2019 indicated the numbers hover around 26%. This is why AVIVV has recently committed to hiring military spouses with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes campaign “Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses”, and encourages all companies to do the same.

Author:Nicole Heyde

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