FORT McCOY, Wis. – Remembering what her ancestors and tribal elders told her helped a Native American in the 88th Readiness Division fulfill his mission throughout his career.

The journey began 17 years ago when Charles joined the active Army. She originally trained as a 92W water treatment specialist. She joined the Army Reserve in 2016.

“I went from the regular Army to the Army Reserve for balance,” she said. As a part-time soldier, she found it easier to complete her college degree and become certified as a financial planner.

He also changed his military occupational specialty and now works as a 36B Budget Analyst as an active guard reserve soldier with the 88th RD.

“I’ve been interested in the process of how budget and finance work, as well as helping soldiers,” Charles said. “I wanted a change from my previous MOS. While dealing with Army Reserve budgets, I enjoy the analysis process that involves locating a problem and coming up with several resolutions.

“In a way, I shifted gears from working with equipment to working with people,” she said.

Charles doesn’t spend all his time with numbers and spreadsheets. He also makes connections with other Native American soldiers at Fort McCoy. “I meet other people to share food and share stories,” he said. He hopes the circle widens.

Hailing from Newcomb, NM, Charles stays in touch with his Native American heritage by ‘talking to my relatives in my Dine’ [Navajo] language. Every now and then I go back to the land of the Navajo Nation. I hear stories during traditional ceremonies. Every day I carry a yellow corn pollen arrowhead to help me remember who I am and where I came from,” she said.

Charles believes it’s important to stay in touch with his Native American heritage. “It’s who I was born with, and who I am today, and who I will be when I return to the Navajo Nation. My ancestors fought for our rights, language, culture, traditions and way of life.

‘Also, I want to stay connected to my Indigenous heritage for my family and the Dine’ [Navajo] people,” he said.

Wherever Charles is, she said she is proud to be a Native American serving in the Army Reserve. That emotion manifested itself in the public act of reintegration, which you did here on November 22, 2022.

88th RD Command Sgt. Major Gregory Betty “didn’t give up on me, encouraging me to stay in the military and move forward with my career, and now I’m enlisting again,” Charles said.

“I’m reenlisting to finish my journey as an indigenous soldier, providing aid to soldiers in good times and bad. I am also doing it to improve my way of life as a human being and as a soldier,” she said.

In the past, Charles said she re-enlisted for her family. “But this reintegration is different and unique. I’m doing it mostly for myself and to leave a legacy of knowledge and wisdom for our future leaders to keep making the military better.”

He gives the following advice to other Soldiers considering reintegration: “Analyse the good and bad aspects of your life right now and set goals to achieve them. Ask yourself, ‘Can I be successful in these goals?’ Encourage the significance of a soldier in the military today. I would say that, with your help, we can all make a difference or change the way the military works with families and soldiers.”

“My family is very supportive [of my decision to reenlist]; they encourage me as much as I encourage them,” she said.

Charles intends to leverage the training and certifications he earned through his two MOSs into a civilian career with the Navajo Nation in New Mexico. “My passions are water treatment and budgets,” he said.

Date taken: 22.11.2022
Publication date: 22.11.2022 13:28
Story ID: 433807
Position: WE

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