PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (9/6/2012) – Some people know what they want to do in life and later change course. Others don't have a clue and stumble upon their path. Along the way, there is sometimes a struggle or a clean break. But for one soldier, it was a combination of the two that made her the person she is today.
September 5, 2012 - Spc. Rachel Bonine poses by a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle, one of many vehicles she drives as a motor transport operator, or 88M, while deployed to Afghanistan. Photo by Army Sgt. Gene Arnold
U.S. Army Spc. Rachel Bonine, the San Bernardino, Calif., native never thought she would have joined the Army two years ago.
“After high school, I went to college in Arizona and graduated as a certified massage therapist and got an associate degree in science. I fell in love with working with children and was a day care teacher for several years.”
In between jobs, something clicked in her mind and she knew she wanted a change.
“Right before I decided to join the Army, I had applied for a job on Fort Riley for day care. During those two weeks of waiting, I thought about it. The only thing I ever got to do was teach children. I started thinking I wanted more for myself. My husband was already in the military and he loved his job. I've always had a lot of pride and respect for him, and I think what he does is great.”
“On the day I was waiting for the phone call, I woke up at 2 a.m. in the morning and told my husband I wanted to join the military. I want to do what you do. He supported the decision I made. The next day we went to the recruiting station in Junction City. After that I went to the Military Entry Program Station, then the next thing I knew I was getting the phone call saying I got the job on post for the day care center.”
“I told them I didn't want that job anymore; I wanted more.”
Her decision to join the military, supported by her husband, has been one of the best decisions she has ever made - she found her passion.
“I love being in the military. I have so much more respect for myself now. I know my job, and I'm proficient at it. I'm an 88 M a motor transport operator. I love my job; I love the fact that I get to go around to different forward operating bases and see different things,” Bonine said.
“Being deployed, coming to FOB Rushmore, being a part of the female engagement team and helping teach the new Female Afghan Policewomen opens my horizons. I've had more excitement being in the military than I have had the last 12 years of my life,” she said.
Besides having new, exciting experiences, she's also seen a great amount of self improvement since joining the military three years ago.
“I've seen myself improve at physical training, [from] not doing very well at all, to doing so much better”
“There was a time when I was going through a real hard time, and I was already in the military. After the event already passed, I realized I still have the military and I became the best soldier I can be. Even though I had stuff going on in my personal life, I realized I had a job to do and it was important to me to finish it,” Bonine said.
She said her military service has improved her marriage as well.
“I'm dual military, and it's helped my relationship because the communication I have with my husband. We can speak to each other in military terms and not have to explain it anymore or question it. We can be excited for each other when we tell each other something. Things that you can't tell your parents or other civilians about and know what you're talking about,” she said.
Bonine's husband Staff Sgt. Andrew Bonine is assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4 IBCT. He is also deployed with her.
Being married to her high school sweet heart for the past nine years and sharing a deployment, has made this experience even more important.
“I'm serving my country, and I'm really proud of it. I'm making the people back at home proud. I'm out here in Afghanistan and I'm doing my best at doing my part in my role as a FET member and 88M to help this country sustain itself, so that when we leave they can walk on their own two feet,” she said.
Bonine added that she gets her passion from her husband.
“I believe that my husband is the greatest non-commissioned officer there is; he takes his job seriously. He's not only the greatest NCO, leader, and friend but he's also a great husband. He motivates me to do better. That's why it's so great to wake up in the morning and fight the fight with him,” she said.
Bonine added that this deployment is a stark contrast to the previous two deployments here husband completed, when she sat at home waiting for him.
“This deployment is different because we are both out here and we're together. It's a great feeling knowing that we're both out her struggling to do the same thing, so when we get home were going to have so many great stories to tell each other,” she said.
Bonine recently re-enlisted for four more years in the Army.
“I don't know if I want to make it a career, but I do know that at this time I do want to stay in. I'm still proud of what I do and proud about it.”
By Army Sgt. Gene Arnold
Provided through DVIDS
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