Gee, I Wish I was Back in the Army

*If you’re a White Christmas nerd like I am you’ll know where that title is from.*

Well y’all, I finally did it.  I’ve had an internal debate going on inside my brain (and heart) for a while now, and I recently bit the bullet and switched from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) to the U.S. Army Reserve.  As most of you know, I graduated from West Point in 2009 and served as an Active Duty Army Officer for just over 5 years.  Commissioned Officers owe 8 years at a minimum, so I’ve been in the IRR for the past year and a half (which doesn’t require you to do anything and you’re not paid, but you maintain your commission and you are at risk of being called up if the Army needs you).  I announced this on Instagram a month ago but realized I had not mentioned it here.

I was very ready to leave the Army life behind me but over the past few months I’ve had a bit of a change of heart.  My last assignment was at the Pentagon where I worked on expanding positions, units, schools and occupations to women.  It was an eye opening job and I learned just how much work it requires to make substantial changes in the Army.  At the end of 2015 all of our hard work paid off and the Army opened up everything to women.  We have even had 3 women graduate from Ranger School, and I must admit that I cried happy tears when I found out that they made it through.  I have never wanted to attend Ranger School or be an Infantry Officer but I have served with many strong, smart and talented women that I know could totally do it, and I sincerely believe that women should at least have the opportunity to try (as long as standards are not lowered).  After seeing all of these changes occur, and after an impromptu visit to the Women’s Army Museum at Fort Lee, Virginia, I had a renewed sense of pride in my service and the service of all the women who paved the way before me.  I want to continue to be a full time mom to Jack so Active Duty is not appealing to me anymore, but I think I can handle one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year (the requirement for drilling Reservists).  There is the potential for a mobilization, but I’ll cross that bridge when/if I get there.  So far, I have had two weekends of drill as a Reservist and it felt weird yet comfortable to wear the uniform again.  I have no clue where this journey will take me or how long I will stay in, but for now I am happy and excited to serve our nation in this new capacity.

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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  1. May 23, 2016 / 4:17 pm

    Katie, your strength, drive, passion, and sense of duty in all aspects of your life are truly inspiring! I love following your journey and wish you and your family the best in every endeavor.

  2. May 23, 2016 / 4:46 pm

    Your story is amazing. I've been following your instagram, and just started reading your blog. You are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story!

  3. May 23, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    Katie – Thank You for your service to our country. Our Derek graduated on Saturday and the pride makes your heart burst as you watch the commitment of our young men and women, and the commissioning is beautiful but your Mommas heart breaks a little as you realize he is in the Army now and no longer safely kept in the grey castle. He will head to Ft Sill and the Ranger school or Hawaii. Thank You for the example of Grace as you have walked life's path since your own graduation and for the sacrifices you have made for that service. May God continue to Bless you and your sweet family!

  4. May 23, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    Sounds like that could be the perfect fit for you. I know my husband truly misses putting on the uniform every day after doing it for 30 years. I personally think you will be a better mom having something for yourself. As Jack grows and understands he will see how amazing and strong his mom is, YGG!

  5. Grace
    May 23, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    Katie, good for you! The work/family balance is a challenging one for many women, but you have a unique opportunity to continue serving your country and mothering your beautiful son full-time. I have a feeling, having read your blog, if anyone can do it well, it's you! Thank you for your service and for sharing your extraordinary and inspiring life story with all of us. We're rooting for you!

  6. May 23, 2016 / 11:48 pm

    How we would yell for Dietrich and Cornell…Jolson, Hope and Benny all for free. My favorite Christmas movie.

  7. May 24, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    Welcome back 🙂 The Army is better for having you in it!

  8. May 25, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    "Three meals a day, for which you didn't pay…"

    Love that song and love that movie! Congrats on the new role – seems like it will be a wonderful fit and thank you sincerely for your service!

  9. May 25, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    It's the best! I grew up in an Army family (as did my parents) so this was always a huge part of the Christmas season!

  10. May 25, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    Thank you so much Shanley! I appreciate you following along 🙂

  11. May 25, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    Hi Nicki! Thank you for following me on instagram and for taking the time to read my blog post. I really appreciate your kind words!

  12. May 25, 2016 / 12:50 pm

    Thank you Lesli! Congratulations to Derek! I know what you mean about the safety in the grey castle. I didn't cry at graduation but I cried as I left West Point for the last time because I knew the little bubble we lived it was going to burst once my classmates started deploying. Despite how things turned out I wouldn't trade my West Point or Army experience for the world. Good luck to your son! If he's heading to Hawaii he's going to love it! That was my first assignment and I miss it every day.

  13. May 25, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    Thank you Jennifer! I think you're right, and hope that it helps me be a more balanced mom.

  14. May 25, 2016 / 12:52 pm

    Thank you for such kind words, Grace! I really appreciate your note and thanks for rooting for me 🙂

  15. May 25, 2016 / 12:53 pm

    It's the best Christmas movie ever, isn't it? The songs get stuck in my head all the time. Thank you for your note!

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