By CPT Josefine M. Faciane
Diversity Integrator Officer
Thumbing through the television guide, I selected “Renaissance Man.” The obstacle course scene sparked a thought, “I could do that! But why would I join the military?” It wasn’t until 9/11 that I got an overwhelming feeling of wanting to be part of a team that had a sense of camaraderie and care for the nation. Suddenly, it came to me, “why sit there (watching the movie) and say you could do something, but not prove it.” I decided to be like Nike, “Just do it!”
I joined the Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG) in December 2001 with 386th Engineer Battalion as a Human Resources (HR) Specialist at Corpus Christi, Texas (my home city). I started college Spring 2003…but something was missing; I felt like I could be more. I sat at meetings with my leadership and thought, “I could be a leader.” And again, “why sit there (watching leaders) and say you could do it, but not prove it.”
I contracted with Army ROTC at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi in November 2005. In March 2006, I got married to another service member and, shortly after, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter (now 7). My ROTC commander was less than pleased. She expressed her disappointment in me and assumed that I did not take the program seriously by getting pregnant. Someone else said, “You won’t lose the weight. You’ll drop out of college and everything will go down the drain (a common fate for females where I’m from).” But, I am not a quitter and nothing would discourage me. I was determined to reach my goals, be an officer and complete my degree. In December 2007, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and, eight months later, commissioned in the TXARNG as an Adjutant General Officer.
My first assignment was with 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) in Austin, Texas as the Brigade Strength Manager in August 2008. Though trainings were once a month, I wanted to express the type of officer I was (well-rounded, not only knowledgeable in HR). I took the initiative to organize an event to give Soldiers the opportunity to qualify for the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency. Fifty-nine Soldiers received the badge in gold, silver, and bronze. The event received recognition from leaderships across Texas and met the intent of partnering with foreign allies. I laugh to this day because people who registered for the event thought they were corresponding through email with a male. To their amazement, I was a female and dismissed the stereotype that only men would be responsible for such a complex event.
After four years with the MEB, I transferred to the 636th Brigade Support Battalion in Marshall, Texas as the Battalion S1 (Adjutant) and accepted my promotion to Captain. With the support of my family and leadership, I deployed to Kuwait with the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade from Austin, Texas in March 2013 as a Brigade Liaison Officer. I quickly infused myself into the operational/strategic mindset without prior aviation knowledge. It was another time that I demonstrated that I can do anything regardless of gender.
Currently, I am the Diversity Integrator Officer for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia, along with being a Company Commander with 149th Personnel Company in Wichita Falls, Texas. I am also on the path to graduate with honors with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.
My father instilled in me the importance of education and hard work; he always said, “Nothing is free in life.” Without a doubt, my perseverance led me to rewarding experiences, but nothing amounts to the unwavering support of my husband and daughter. They make sacrifices for me every day so I can reach my full potential. Honorably serving in the most diverse organization is my way of giving back to the land of opportunity and for the betterment of my family.
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