Amanda, daughter of a vet and an immigrant, joined the military “mostly” because her father told her he wasn’t paying for college. She shares a funny story about pissing him off before heading to college, not necessarily disclosing she’d rescinded her Academy appointment in lieu of NROTC. In college, as a midshipman, she had way more fun than anyone in the actual fleet ever will, especially playing “Goose” in the backseat of F-14 Tomcats for a summer cruise.
She was commissioned in May of 2002 aboard the USS Constitution in Boston by her aunt and, after schools in Newport, RI, moved to San Diego to officially join the fleet. She shares a few stories from being a Combat Systems and Ammo Officer, going to rescue swimmer school and being a SAR Officer. Amanda was also mistakenly detailed to a position way above her paygrade at EOD GROUP ONE, as the communications department head, but it all worked out in the end.
Often the only lady on board during her ship days, there were some hurdles and struggles to overcome, some of them as silly as wearing double sports bras to deemphasize her chest. But nothing was as frustrating as insisting there was a problem and and not being heard, so things got a bit personal when she talked about brain injury changing the trajectory of her life, medical side effects of which she still deals with on a daily basis.
Listen until the end if you want to know how she began to overcome her struggles after being left for dead – by the VA hospital - and how she successfully fought the battle of being misdiagnosed for years: It will make you think twice before giving up.
“When you’re going with the waves, it’s one thing. And going back against them is a whole other animal.” [26:10]
“There’s no putting words to how big the ocean is… and I love it.” [26:52]
“I am very visionary as opposed to pragmatic and it is not easy to keep a visionary in a set of rules.” [45:39]
“The place where I think I can make the most impact is talking about self-advocacy because most people will not fight as long as I did.” [59:57]
“Being able to identify my emotions correctly has made a huge difference in my life.” [1:02:07]
“Going straight to anger actually brings you two steps back.” [1:02:18]
In This Episode:
- Why did Amanda joined the military [1:13]
- What was her summer cruises like [2:15]
- Some fun stories about her senior cruise [4:55]
- What was the experience like when breaking the sound barrier [6:00]
- When did she commission [6:36]
- The first person she got to salute [6:42]
- Where did she get commissioned [7:02]
- What she did after graduation [8:23]
- Picking her ship [8:55]
- When did she first report to her ship [9:27]
- What it’s like being the only female on the ship [11:10]
- Some of her good memories from her deployment in 2003 [12:55]
- When is the first time that she looked someone in the eye and she felt hate to her corps [15:48}
- The most interesting stories from her deployment in 2003 [17:37]
- Her experience in the Rescue Swimmer School [19:30]
- Some of her interesting stories from being a rescue swimmer [23:05]
- The first time she realized how tiny she is compared to this world [32:25]
- What it’s like to come home to his husband after having a head injury [35:26]
- What it’s like when she dated someone after the separation with her husband [36:34]
- The process she went through when going to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal school [37:23]
- Life after leaving the active duty [38:51]
- What did she do for fun while still in the navy [40:52]
- Which country did she have the most interesting cultural experience [42:37]
- Did she think she would have served longer if she didn’t have the TBI [45:35]
- One of the funniest things that she remembers and warms her heart [46:46]
- Does people try to make advances on her when she was the only female on the ship [49:55]
- The one story that she haven’t talked about [55:25]
- Her long and hard battle of being misdiagnosed (56:05]
- Does she ever feel lonely? [58:12]
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