The Importance Of My Military Service In The Army

I’m Jessica Hager, born and raised in Southern California. I am currently employed with the United States Army and am stationed in Wisconsin. My professional aspiration to enlist was the curiosity of what the military could do to fulfill what I was unable to achieve, such as receiving health benefits, a nicer paycheck, a degree and eventually a retirement plan. Prior, I was working at a grocery store and just chilling in life. I did not have an aspiration to go to college, but I had big dreams of being someone important and making lots of money to live a nice life. When I had my first conversation with the recruiter, he gave me a list of jobs that were open for my ASVAB standing. From cook, to mechanic, to medic, I could go on, but the one that drew me in was being a Military Police Soldier.

He showed me all the places I could be stationed; the different cultures I would be introduced to the different people I would meet and the adventurous trip I could take. He explained to me that the Army will pay for my college, Housing, food, pay for all health benefits, and once I had a family they would be covered too. I knew I would never have the money to have any of this, this was my opportunity. Since I was physically fit and mentally sound at the time, I thought this was the plan for me! My personality, characteristics and my attributes were to help people, I thought this job is to easy. I did not have any prior experience as for policing or the military.

So, I am currently the only one in my family who has ever had this type of career field and I did not know what I had gotten myself into. I went home and told my parents and my mom says “you do know we are at war, right” but my dad was so excited for me, ah I was still super excited. Although, I did not think this part through and that recruiter never said anything about it, but it was too late and off to basic training I went.

I am currently an active duty Staff Sergeant (promotable) stationed in Wisconsin and in the position of an Observer, Coach/Trainer (OC/T). An OC/T is a position where individuals are certified to observe training exercises, coach and train individuals and units, and provide input after exercises to further elevate unit readiness levels. The unit I am currently assigned to OC/T’s Army Reserve unit. Prior to units annul training events, we assist the unit’s leadership in the planning, coordination, and execution of the pre-mobilization, post-mobilization, individual, and collective training to ensure they are at all times mission ready.

For this role as an OC/T, my prior experience and preparation is that I am a senior non-commissioned officer. I have 14 years of service under my belt and throughout these years, I have been a private, team leader, section leader and a squad leader and platoon sergeant, I have been in the roles as a gunner, a driver, a convoy commander, a rail commander, an ammo handler, a patrol, a patrol supervisor dispatcher and a desk sergeant.

But most importantly, I have experience and self-prepared to further my knowledge to help peers and subordinate leaders build their confidence and the understanding of a leadership role. Ultimately resulting to finding their leadership style and build a strong well-oiled machine amongst their teams, squads or platoons. This was not supposed to be a long-term career, I did not think I would be here 14 years ago. I found my calling and I have been able to gain experience over the years.

As a result, my military experience has prepared me to grow in believing in myself, gain discipline, mature, and find the confidence within me. I am currently continuing my knowledge by working on my military education (leadership courses) gain more experience thru my leadership, and civilian education to push myself to further my career. In order to further my career advancement, I have chosen three short term professional goals. These short-term goals will further my career and push myself to become a better leader. When deciding my short-term goals, I aimed at achievements that I want to develop for myself; promotion to SFC and Score a 300 on the APFT.

My short-term goals are meant to address areas of responsibilities within my work place. As responsibilities differ from job to job and person to person, I ensured that my goals were within the progression and achievable within one year and areas intended to focus on areas of my weakness. Army HRC Mission statement states, “Provide the Army with a system of Soldier advancement that ensures continuous fill of valid vacancies at the next higher grade. Ensure a fair and equitable system that centers efforts on a consistent merit-based program that allows those with the most potential for increased responsibility to advance” (U.S. Army Human Resources Command, 2020).

I plan to be promoted to SFC. It is my responsibility to progress to the next rank and position, but my supervisors may have some ideas or advice that could be helpful to strengthen my board packet. It is my job to ensure my promotion packet is updated with new certificates added, department of the army photo is recent and uploaded, and my personal administration information is correct. I need to create timeline by taking the information I already have received on promotions from memorandums, policies and MILPER messages, so that that I know the HRC annual promotion board packet submission is due and when the board will convene. I need to know how to manage and navigate the board packet portal and know how to submit it to HRC and know where to look for currant statuses of my packet progress. By producing a checklist to ensure I do not miss important dates, I need to plan for errors such as certificates are not added in time, personal administration sections are incorrect, I am on travel orders and unable to have computer resources and internet issues. By being specific and detailed outline of this specific goal will enable me to obtain organization advancement, personal growth and career development.

Next, I ask myself, what measurable ways can I use to determine if I have met the goal? To ensure this, I will set quarterly milestones to ensure that I am completing ways of professional growth to strengthen my promotion packet. By setting milestones I will be able to stay more on track, keep accountability, and have the ability to maintain a manageable timeline. Once milestones are accomplished, they will be added to my promotion packet and crossed off the list. If they are not, I have the ability to push them out to the next milestone. This way I have complete control over what I have done and what I haven’t.

Achievable goal setting is important when selecting my top priorities and I know it is achievable. While completing my milestones I may have to take the time to development new skills or more responsibilities. If this becomes a factor during my slotted timeline I will need to put in practice, maybe adjust my timeline to ensure that I will achieve my top priority. As the relevance of focusing on priorities, how will my goal influence or regard to the overall organization and its agenda for me? As for the position I am in, my unit and the organization, promotion to SFC would be an overall benefit due to my experience.

I feel that I have set a realistic goal for myself, but one thing I need to remember is time. I will control a timeline by backwards planning. This is an accomplishable task to ensure that all dates, and milestones are reached. Backwards planning will be easier to use due to I have an estimated due date. Every year packets are usually due to HRC no later than May. So, I will use March as my buffered end date. I will then work backward using my specific “S” mission statement for this goal.

I plan to be score 300 on the APFT. My physical fitness is my responsibility to progress within this area. It is my job to ensure that I try hard during the army scheduled physical fitness hour and then do physical fitness on my own outside of work. I can do this by scheduling 30 minutes a day after work hours for exercising. I can maintain a schedule like this by creating a timeline of the priorities that I have to do when I get home. I need to know how to manage what types of exercising I need to work on and how to strengthen myself within these areas. To ensure this happens, I will create an exercise book to write down what exercises I did how many repetitions and how many sets. This will help me remember my progression or slack in specific areas of my exercising. By having specific and detailed book of this specific goal will enable me to obtain organization advancement, personal growth and career development.

What are some measurable ways can I use to determine if I have met the goal? I can ensure this by too by setting quarterly milestones to ensure that I am completing ways of my physical fitness level. At each mile stone I will give myself a diagnostic APFT to see if I am progressing. This will enable me to react to the specific three exercises the army has put in place to measure my fitness. I will be able to strengthen my weaker areas and continue to strengthen my strengths both at the same time and when my unit schedules my APFT will be ready to reach my goal of 300.

Setting achievable goals is important and being able to see the results and how I am the one who pushed myself is a personal achievable goal. While completing my milestones I may have to take the time to research exercising tip that would help me understand the importance of, how long to work out, what muscles are used for each of the army’s events and what exercises would be better for my body style. If this becomes a factor during my slotted timeline I will need to put in practice, maybe adjust my timeline to ensure that I will achieve my top priority.

As the relevance of focusing on physical fitness, how will my goal influence or regard to the overall organization and its agenda for me? A s for the position I am in, my unit and the organization, being stronger would allow me to accomplish certain tasks, give the unit a professional appearance and I am less likely to have injury or illnesses, these would be an overall benefit for all. I feel that this is an accomplishable goal that I set for myself. Scoring a 300 is a result, but it’s not the only positive achievement. With this goal I will be healthier, stronger, less stressed both physically and mentally. By ensuring that I am healthy is a top priority for myself and my organization., because if I am sick or injured, I am no use to either.

After I have identified my short-term goals, I need to plan a strategy on how to achieve them. In order to do this, I will need to implement a process at a pace that I am able to maintain. In order to reach my goals, I need to find out what action I need to out in place to hold myself accountable for my own success. To find my actions I need to think about how to implement, monitor and revising and then find ways that I can adhere to this process. I have chosen to stay organized, prioritize and maintain flexibility.

First, I will need to strategize on how to implement my goals. I need to take my action of organization and be specific on the required actions of the goals. Once this is complete, I need to take responsibility in coordinating my milestones, to result in my goals achievement. Next, I need to monitor my progress. When monitoring, I will start with my top priorities to ensure that what I have implemented as milestones are being accomplished on time.

Lastly, I need to revise my progress. When my milestone arrives, I will be able to notice completed tasks and continue my prioritized list. I can do this by being flexible with changes that I may need to make along the way. By implementing these simple strategies and reflecting on what I have accomplished, will enable me to reach both of my short-term goals and set myself up with patterns of predictability to have an ever-revolving circle of achievement. I will have made myself and endless circle of achievements, one flowing in right after another.

My Long-term goas are to retire from the army and pursue a career as a crime scene investigator. The ways I will ensure that I achieve my goals is to expand the timeline of the SMART method. I have now set a long-term goal to retire from the military. It is my responsibility to continue to progress consistently within my current job as a leader, a mentor, and a teacher. My chain of command are my leaders, my mentors and my teachers and they will ensure that I am on the right path to reach this goal.

It is my job to ensure that I mentally and physical have the mind-set to continue strong and confidant that I can do it. Since my time is coming near, I need to establish another timeline of when I can start to implement the retirement process. I need to when I can start the process, enroll in Soldier for Life transition program, get my finances in order and find out where I want to retire. Making a timeline to ensure that I possess everything to make my transition out easy I need to start my preparation now. By creating a timeline with specific annual dates will ensure that I hit every possibility of a smooth transition to the civilian word.

The measurable ways that I can ensure that this happens is by setting up annual checklist timelines to ensure that I am acquiring information regarding this process, that when it is time it is more approachable. By creating a checklist this will ensure that I have all required gear to turn in, my paperwork is correct and I receive all the benefits I can receive. With this I will be able to stay more on track, keep my eye on the exit, but yet continue to progress until my time comes.

This is a hard goal to achieve. The ability to maintain my mental and physical mentality is getting hard as I grow older and society continues to change. I have to have strong motivation and the will power to want to continue for 5 more years, but it is a struggle already. While continuing I will have to move again and find a life again, and continue my development of more responsibilities. These are just a few factors that could get in my way of achieving my goal, but I am resilient and I will push through.

As the relevance of this goal, it is rewarding. I will be taking home a whole new me. I am disciplined, physically/mentally fit, I have courage and bravery, I have managing and coping skills, and I have learned how to positively encourage motivate and communicate with others. These are just a few rewarding things that I have accomplished during my career, and I am proud to take them home with me and share them with others. These attributes I have added to my personal behavior and are more than enough of a reward and is an overall benefit due to my experience.

This is tough, but a realistic goal for me. With this goal I am in control of my desired end state. No one else can choose to make the choice but me. By abiding by the path of moral courage and personal respect I was able to continue it this far and now I do not believe that any one can stop me but myself. The time I have to complete this goal is open, but I have chosen the 20-year mark. I do not feel I need to go longer because I am waiting to be promoted, but others above me won’t retire, so HRC cannot promote. I want people under me to progress and achieve their goals as I have done. That’s only fair, they have a secret goal from me and I enjoy watching my past soldiers grow into professional leaders and individuals within our society. I had my turn, its theirs now and I trust this nation and my freedom to them.

Once I retire, my goal is having my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice- crime scene investigator. My educational background and future career is my responsibility to attain. The field of being a CSI is a field that I enjoy due to being an officer for the past 20 years, I am tired of customer service! I want to know what happens next? What goes on after the police have left the scene? I can have been taking course to further my education and I have maintained the ability to progress at a slower pace. Working full time and accomplishing my degree is rewarding in its own way. This schedule is exhausting but by scheduling 1 hour a day after work is beneficial to me. I can maintain a schedule like this by maintaining a strict self-proclaimed policy. It goes hand in hand with retirement, I need a job when I leave the army.

To ensure this happens, I have created a folder to ensure my progress is going steadily and it is dated to end 1 year prior to me retiring. By having specific book of accomplished short-term goals (degree plan) this enables me to ensure that I am on the right pass to achieve this goal and continue my career with in the criminal justice field. The measurable ways I can ensure this goal is accomplished is to map out my schedule and emplace the courses where I am less limited on time restraints. With my folder I am organized and able to maintain my progress as I complete each course within my degree plan.

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