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
“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.”
to join the military, supported by her husband, has been one
of the best decisions she has ever made - she found her
“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,”
“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.
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.
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
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
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