Career Stories: Changing Perceptions
Reflections Of An Officer
Every Step An Opportunity
Accepting a Daughter’s Choice to Join the Guard
As a retired member of the Marine Corps, Louis Arroyo works with individuals interested in military service. But when his daughter Krista said she wanted to join the National Guard, he experienced a situation that he had never trained for before.
Hear from Corporal Amayah Littlewolf about her experience enlisting in the Army National Guard and how her concerned mother’s support was critical in making that decision.Length 2:27 View Transcript
Corporal Amayah Littlewolf, U.S. Army National Guard: After high school, I was thinking I would just go to a college in Minnesota.
Wenona Littlewolf: I really never considered that she would go into the Military at all. I was really-
Amayah: I never thought I'd go into the Military.
Wenona: I was kind of shocked.
Amayah: My junior year of high school, my friend Logan came to me, and he was like, "You'd be really good at this, you should do it," because he was in the Guard by that point too. Logan came with me to the recruiter, and then the recruiter walked me through the education benefits. When I learned that I could stay home and go to college, and pretty much do what all of my friends were doing, but I could also be in the National Guard, I think that's what kind of sold me, but, I didn't really know if my mom was going to go for it or not. I was 17, so she needed to sign off on papers that it was okay for me to enlist in the Military.
Wenona: I didn't know what to think when she came to me and said, "I really want to have you come in and talk to the recruiter about me joining the National Guard." I was really like, "Um. What?" At the meeting with the recruiter, he was really good about answering all of our questions, all of my questions. My main focus was educational benefits. It was really important to me that she was still able to go to college because that's something I didn't get to do.
Wenona: And I was worried about Amayah being deployed. I don't like her being away from me in general, so I think being somewhere overseas would be really hard for me. I said, "Is this something you really want to do?" And she's like, "Yeah." And I was like, "All right." So we did it, and I support her 100 percent.
Amayah: I don't think that I would have probably done it if you weren't okay with it.
Wenona: The advice that I would give to the families of children going into the Military is to just really support them, and keep that communication open.
Wenona: When she went to basic training, I worked really hard and made sure she got a letter every day because I wanted her to get through that knowing that she had the love and support of people back home.
Amayah: Their support is really important because if I didn't have that, I wouldn't feel proud of what I was doing, and I'm very proud of being in the National Guard.
A Family Decision
A Son Transforms into a Marine
Keith and Linda Freshour's son Robert had always been independent-minded, but was he ready for the intensity of the U.S. Marine Corps? Join this family as they have a frank conversation about the sacrifices and demands of military service.
A Marine Charts a New Family Path
Get inspired by this mother-son story that’s rooted in focus, discipline and a well-researched understanding of what it takes to thrive in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Discover how Lieutenant Commander Jesse Harms and his parents worked together to turn a desire to give back into a future serving others with the Coast Guard.Length 1:52 View Transcript
Annie Harms: Jesse was one of these kids that came out of the womb just happy.
Tom Harms: The personality he has now, he's had his whole life.
Lieutenant Commander Jesse Harms, U.S. Coast Guard: In high school I was thinking about a mix of things that I was interested in. I knew I had a huge love for nature and the natural environment from some volunteering activity that I did growing up.
Tom: When Jesse was in high school, I actually thought about the Military, but I never really understood anything about the academies. When that started coming together, I thought, "Wow, what an opportunity."
Annie: We had no military experience at all. I had maybe some uncles, but don't have any military experience. So I was concerned that he would go there and they would change him into a different kind of person. But that did not happen.
Jesse: After graduating the Coast Guard Academy, I ended up in Mobile, Alabama. I was in Mobile for the deep water horizon oil spill, and I got to do pollution response for the largest environmental disaster in the history of the world. I go to Puerto Rico, and we have Hurricane Maria hit.
Tom: I remember after it happened, we heard from him, and Jesse said, "I'm doing what I was meant to do. This is what it's all about. There's people to save and we got to just do it any way we can."
Annie: We just feel so fortunate and so blessed that he was able to get this stellar education and an instant job when they leave, and a meaningful job. I just feel really fortunate.
Jesse: You join the Military to make some kind of a difference and you learn and have these tools that allow you to become someone that can be a servant to the nation. It's been really fulfilling for me.
A Natural Course
Supporting a Child’s Air Force Dream
Air Force reservist Michael Kolk’s love of flight began when he was four years old, so it was really no surprise to his mother, Patti, when he announced his intention to enlist in the Air Force Reserve.
Following Dad’s Footsteps to Become a Pilot
Dennis Costello, a retired member of the Air Force, always knew his son John had a love for flying, just like he did. In this story, you’ll discover how the Air National Guard, with its combination of career and personal growth, represented the perfect path forward.
Sergeant Brian Threat has always had incredible respect for his Uncle Lee. So, when the time came to make a life-changing decision about what to do next with his career, it made perfect sense to follow in Lee’s footsteps. With Lee’s support, Brian enlisted in the Army, secured an information technology job, and transformed into a role model not only for his family, but also his hometown.Length 3:06 View Transcript
Lee Gray: Brian is my sister’s first-born child. I remember when I was in flight school and I used to go over to my sister’s house, and I would put all of these charts on the ground. And then Brian was a little toddler and he would come run and trample over all of these charts, and it would really kind of get me upset, and my sister would laugh at it.
Sergeant Brian Threat, U.S. Army: At first, I wanted to be a pilot like my uncle. I actually remember when he flew into Jacksonville and my mom took me there and we saw him fly over. That was very exciting, and something that will always stick in my head. Some guys you always want to be like when you grow up, and he was that guy.
Lee: Brian was a good student, he was an athlete, and he was playing football since he was probably fifth grade, I think.
Jimmy Threat, Sr.: Oh, he always wanted to play football. So, I took him around, put him on the team, and he turned out to be one of the best players on the team. He always wanted to be first, whatever he did.
Lee: Brian was in college focusing on going pro.
Brian: I was talking to scouts and everything, but my mom got diagnosed with ALS, and it kind of took the football spirit out of me. I wanted to come home and be with her for a while. After she passed away, my uncle saw me getting comfortable and kind of rooted at home because it’s kind of like you walk down the street and everybody’s like, “hi, Brian, how are you doing?” You know everybody. And you really get complacent at home. And he saw that because he was from outside looking in. He came in and he was like, “look, hey Brian, you might want to join the Military. It’s perfectly fine with being here in Pensacola and everything, but there’s more world out there that you need to explore. So that right there lit a fire under me, and I had to go experience it for myself.
Lee: I don’t want to push the Military because he’s going to be the one doing the push-ups, not me. There are distinct branches with distinct cultures, and it’s important to see what each branch has to offer before you make your decision.
Brian: When I went to the Army, they offered me the 25 Bravo Information Technology job, and when I was in the recruiter’s office, I felt at home. The people were really nice, and I decided hey that’s the route I wanted to go.
Lee: I have kids and I want them to be inspired by his adventures and his travels. So, they look up to him. As he said he looked up to me, my kids look up to Brian also.
Brian: You value family a lot more when you’re overseas or you’re away and you come back. You see the excitement on their face, and just to know they’re proud of the things you’re doing for your country is a feeling like no other.
Jimmy.: I’m proud of him. Real proud of him. He turned out to be a hell of a kid.
Lee: I think Brian’s mom would be very proud. He’s very mature, and he’s not just interested in himself he’s looking out for others now. And that’s important. Your mom would be very proud, Brian.
Support From All Sides