Friday, December 26, 2008


I would expect that to be the reaction from most of those who know me. I will try and explain how it happened and in as short summary form as possible. I would hope to eventually sit down with you and give the long version over drinks...

Shortly after Enya was born in September 2005, I had a bit of a panic. I was making just under $40K as a staff attorney at a refugee resettlement agency. Karina had gone back to work after her maternity leave and her mother, who came from Mexico to help us, was caring for Enya while we were at work. But she wasn't going to stay forever which meant either Karina quit working or we did daycare. We were not really psyched about sending her to daycare. We figured that 50% of her salary would go to pay someone else to raise our child, not to mention the 2 hours she spent commuting each day. So I started looking for a part-time lawyer job. The first one I saw online was the JAG Reserve. I was hooked.

Then, we were in Indiana for Christmas. While Karina, Enya, my Mom and Karina's Mom were hanging out in the kitchen (middle of the week...Dad was at work), I was aimlessly flipping through 100s of channels. I ended up on CSPAN of all things and came across a symposium on international war crimes at Georgetown Law. The 2 primary speakers were former JAG lawyers who had served in WWII and were involved in the Nuremberg trials. One of the gentlemen was a retired law professor from NYU and peace activist. I emailed him at the end of the program (which had been taped previously). He wrote me back the same day. We had a short exchange about the JAG in today's context of the war on terror. He encouraged me to apply to the JAG Corps. I requested the JAG brochure.

A month later, I learned that I would be in line for a promotion to the head attorney of the non-profit. I shelved the JAG, but it was always in my head. Karina's Mom went back to Mexico and Karina stopped working. About 2 months later, I was promoted and the increase in income allowed us to avoid daycare. It worked out perfectly.

When we were blessed with the birth of Grace in September 2007, I began thinking of my future. I had quit my old job and took the supervising attorney position at Catholic Charities...a dream position for me. Karina had put up with my day-dreaming about the JAG for about 2 years at this point and finally said ¨Do it or stop talking about doing it!¨ . So, in the beginning of 2008, I began the relatively arduous process of filling out forms and collecting documentation for my application.

I was interviewed by a Lieutenant Colonel from the 3d Legal Support Organization (my new unit which is based in Boston) in May 2008. I learned verbally that I was approved in October 2008 and got my official appointment letter in December 2008.

This explains the process for what I've done....not a short summary as promised. Next will be the ¨why¨ aspect....

1 comment:

  1. I thought I should comment on how I feel about Tom joining the army.

    As many of you might know, I come from a military family. My father is a retired infantry major who served the army for 30+ years; his brother, Tio Daniel, had a promising career as a cavalry major when he passed away in his 30's. My only brother Beto joined the army too, became a 1st lieutenant and, after about 7/8 years of service, decided the army was not for him. Finally, my mother's sister, Tia Carmen, is married to Tio Raul, who is a retired "General de Division", the highest rank in the Mexican Army and who served in the army 40+ years before retiring a couple years ago. And to think my maternal grandfather used to say, "In my family, I don't want soldiers, not even toy soldiers!"

    So I was an army child and my father was away many times and we moved many more times. I could say that ours was not an easy life, but I was always very proud whenever I saw a military parade and all the armed forces in their starched uniforms and shiny boots. Just today, Tom came home with some of his military gear... boots, uniforms, insignias, ribbons and stuff like that.

    My family served my country; my husband will serve his and our daughters' country. And I am hoping that he won't be deployed so much as he is in the army reserve, but if he ends up going away, I just pray that I can be as good as my mother was taking care of her 4 children.