Military Life

Personal Growth

Many service members will tell you that their duties are only part of the reason why they find military life rewarding. For a more complete picture, explore the sections below to discover why other intangible benefits can often lead to the most valuable experiences and personal growth.


While the idea of joining the Military may seem intimidating and insurmountable to those who don’t know what to expect, it’s actually an environment filled with opportunities to overcome self-doubt, build confidence and find pride in one's abilities.

Serving in the Military: Part-Time Service, Full-Time Growth

Learn how the Army National Guard has given Corporal Amayah Littlewolf the confidence to grow not only as a Soldier with great ambitions, but as a mature young adult who makes her mother, Wenona Kingbird, very proud.

Length 1:21 View Transcript


Corporal Amayah Littlewolf, U.S. Army National Guard:   When I first joined the Guard, I was pretty shy and not very confident because I thought, "Wow, I really don't belong here. I'm never going to make it in this." And then I went to the basic training, and I graduated one of the top students. I went to advanced individual training, and graduated one of the top students again. And then I've just been excelling and like whatever I do.

Amayah:   I feel like I've gained a lot of confidence and some really, really, really good friends. They're my girls, my second family.

Wenona Littlewolf:   She's grown a lot as a soldier. My confidence in her has also grown and I know that she could handle herself.

Amayah:   I think a really big goal that's always been something that I want to do is become a noncommissioned officer, like an E-5 Sergeant. Once you become an NCO, you lead people and you better them as soldiers, so you're almost like a mentor.

Wenona:   I really think the military path for her is something that just fits with her. It's just clicked. I just see her light up when she talks about it. It spills over into her everyday life. She's doing what parents set out for the children to do, and it's a goal. I feel that the military has been a big, big part of that.


Leadership is one of the many strengths that service members quickly find themselves developing while in the Military. Not only is this progress promoted with training, it often comes naturally within collaborative Service environments.

Leading Together

Lieutenant Commander Jesse Harms describes how support in the Coast Guard can come from any individual, regardless of rank, standing or place in the community he serves. His parents, Tom and Annie Harms, couldn't be more proud of what this network has done to help Jesse progress through his career.

Length 1:26 View Transcript


Lieutenant Commander Jesse Harms, U.S. Coast Guard:   As soon as you step into a new unit, you're looking for mentors. Sometimes you have people that are 40 years old working for you, and you're 23. Those people have a wealth of experience. You're still technically the boss, but they're the people that you lean on for most of your decision making. So you learn to be humble right away in how you go about making really critical decisions for the United States, and you learn that anyone can have information that can help make a situation better.

Jesse:  The most junior person or the most senior person in a unit can be your coach through a situation. It's a very small community of people that you grow and lean on for all sorts of issues in your life.

Annie Harms:   I love that he has built a community for himself here.

Tom Harms:    It was kind of how we function as a family, and he's kept it up. So I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to meet the people that have taken over for me, that are growing my son through adulthood. It's special.

Annie:    It's really a wonderful thing, as a parent, to look back and look at your kids, and feel like, wow, he made good choices in his life. I just couldn't be any prouder of him.


Behind every mission is a team of service members working together, building close bonds and finding ways to overcome challenges that would be impossible to face alone. Developing this collaborative mentality and the ability to adapt are two of the primary ways that the Military and its members ensure success.

Cybersecurity Specialists: Many Minds, One Mission

Hear from a group of young cyber warriors about how they train for mission success by embracing a diversity of thought and collaborative problem solving.

Length 1:36 View Transcript


Seaman Jordan Wilkie-Tasequah, U.S. Navy: Before I joined the Navy, I was a daycare teacher.

Seaman Janelle Fajardo, U.S. Navy: I was an administrative assistant. My background is in criminal justice.

Seaman Apprentice Bryce Games, U.S. Navy: I could fix almost anything on a car, and I could build a house from the ground up. But when it comes to computers, I, I didn't know anything about them.

Master Chief Petty Officer Aaron Manning, U.S. Navy: The cyberspace workforce that we're developing, coming from all walks of life, is a key factor to being successful in anything.

Petty Officer First Class Michelle Reimers, U.S. Navy: Diversity is important as far as technical problem-solving because everyone is going to have a different angle of how they would like to attack a problem and, using that diversity, you can come to the best possible solution.

Chief Petty Officer Nachelle Scott, U.S. Navy: I tell my students that they are the first line of defense together. Even though they come in and they have, you know, different job titles as ITs, as CTs, etcetera, we kinda all merge and blend together, and we support one another.

Petty Officer FIrst Class Jesse Thornton, U.S. Navy: Our learning process is extremely collaborative. We have joint-Service students and, almost every single night, they’re setting up study groups to make sure that they understand the material. We have multiple modules where they have to work as a team in order to succeed.

Seaman Mikaela Mujwid, U.S. Navy: My favorite thing about this experience is I’ve learned a lot of different things that I’ve never learned before. I met a lot of people I have good bonds with now. There’s a lot of things I didn’t know I was capable of until I came here.

Jordan: When I got here, I was really surprised to see how everybody’s together, and it was all like a brotherhood, and ... you just fit right in. Everybody just fits right in. And if you don’t? We pull you in.


Whether it's pursuing an education, aspiring to be a good role model or wanting to see the world, the Military provides service members with many opportunities to find motivation and turn ambition into action.

ROTC Cadet and Family Man

ROTC Cadet Brian Corey Abrams will soon be graduating from Chicago State University to become an active-duty logistics officer in the Army. See how the Military and his family have helped him succeed.

Video Published on Feb 24, 2017

Length 2:11 View Transcript


Cadet Brian Abrams, U.S. Army ROTC:   My name is Brian Abrams.  I’m from Chicago, Illinois.  I attend Chicago State University.  I’m also a part of the ROTC program there.  And in the Reserve, as well.  Once I learned all the opportunities and the different paths I can take, my life has changed dramatically.  With the education that I’m getting now and with the graduating, becoming second lieutenant, looking back, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be here, to be honest with you.  I am a busy guy.  Along with being in the ROTC and being a full-time student and working on the weekends doing security...  So I stay busy.

Brian's Grandmother:  He’s a delight to have around.  My two oldest grandson, he’s like a father role.  They look up to Corey.  He’s a positive example.

Cousin 1:  I look up to him.  Because he want us to grow up and be successful, just like him.  He want -- to know how great it is.  He don’t like no C’s, or else, on our report card.

Cousin 2:  Yeah, like the...

Cousin 1:  So he want us to...  Because you want to...

Cousin 2:  Get all A’s, straight down.

Brian:   I hope that I inspire them, you know, to become whatever they want to become.  You know, I always tell them, “You can do whatever you want to do in life,” you know, “become president or a lawyer, a doctor,” you know, “You just have to work hard.”  By me being able to spend time with them...  And they see me put on my uniform.  I go to work.  I go to school.  I think their dream becomes a little closer, you know, once they see me doing what I’m doing.  I think my grandparents will say I’m a determined individual.  I believe they’ll say I work hard.  And I think they’ll say I’m a -- I’m a man.  I’m ready for Chapter 2 of my life, whether they send me to Italy or Spain or within the States.  It’s exciting, because I’ve lived in Chicago for the majority of my life and I’m ready to see the world. 


Service members living on or near a military base have access to a large number of personal enrichment options that can help ensure their off-duty time is both recreational and rewarding.

Endless Enrichment

Joining the Military is a big commitment, but serving doesn’t mean putting personal growth on hold. The truth is, everyone who lives on base, or has access to one, will have a range of education, wellness and entertainment options to help them feel enriched, empowered and fulfilled.

Length 1:06 View Transcript


Senior Airman Melissa Edgmon, U.S. Air Force: Being around the base has helped me grow as an individual, both emotionally and mentally. We have so many resources, whether it’s the education center, because it provides a way for you to find your path in your educational aspirations.

It’s nice to have the library to have an environment on base for self-betterment and growing through the knowledge that’s available to you in that resource.

The arts and crafts center is nice to have around because you have that opportunity to delve into different hobbies and try different passions and also grow with the people around you and create new relationships.

The opportunities are endless. You can build your education toolbox as much as you want, and you will get nothing but support. I think I definitely feel more in control of my life due to the communication skills and personal growth skills that I’ve acquired in my short time in the military so far.