CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Some people just know exactly what they were born to do early in life. Without a doubt, they set out on a course which gives them the tools to succeed. Army Spc. Caitlyn Babineau, of the 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade here, is one of those people.
Coming from a strong military background, Babineau followed in her stepfather's footsteps; although she chose the Army National Guard instead of the Air Force like him. Babineau's parents have been a vital influence in developing and molding her into what she is today.
North Carolina Army National Guard Spc. Caitlyn Babineau, of the 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, folds the flag during a military funeral training session on Feb. 1, 2014. Babineau, of Charlotte, N.C., took time from her training schedule to help another soldier in the military funeral program practice before he made his debut at an upcoming funeral. Her military occupation is Healthcare Specialist but she also volunteered to take on the extra responsibilities as a member of the funeral honor guard. She said every veteran deserves a flag and giving the flag to the family is the like saying thank you for your service one last time. (Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Ruth McClary)
“My mother was a medical assistant and when I was five years old, I would treat my teddy bears with her medical supplies,” said Babineau. “I always wanted to be in the medical field and help people.”
Babineau, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., started her military career in Troy, N.Y., where she enlisted as a Healthcare Specialist (formerly known as Combat Medic) in November 2009. She completed 17 weeks of training to gain a broad range of medical skills to help soldiers in need during drill or active duty status.
“My stepfather was in the Air Force, so I grew up around the military and I decided I wanted to be in the Army because I wanted to help people,” said Babineau. “Also, I didn't want to sit behind a desk [which is what she thought was done in the Air Force].”
“I didn't realize that when I became a medic there would actually be paperwork involved, she added. “So, the running joke in the family is dealing with me still having to sit behind a desk.”
Helping others is ingrained in Babineau's character. She balances the responsibilities of family as she works toward a bachelor's degree in nursing along with her mounting responsibilities in the military.
“Trying to put an emphasis on so much medical knowledge in 17 weeks is difficult,” said Babineau. “When I first started, I thought ‘Oh my God, I don't think I can do this,' and then we started doing hands-on and I realized I could do it.”
That training made Babineau proud when she finally had to put her skills to use to help her fellow comrades.
“When I was in New York, I worked with the medical command and we did all of the medical processing for a unit that was deploying,” she said. “Knowing some of the soldiers in the unit and being able to contribute to them and accomplish the mission, meant a lot to me. That is why I signed up; to be able to say I contributed something.”
“The one thing that stands out about Specialist Babineau is that she separates her work from her personal life,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffery Wood, the Healthcare Specialist Noncommissioned Officer in Charge. “If she has a problem at home it doesn't affect her as a soldier. She comes in, does the work and goes about her day.”
“She definitely has a willingness to work. If there is something I would like her to do; I can expect that it will get done,” said Wood, of Charlotte, N.C. “I can just walk away. I don't have to follow up on it; I just wait until the report comes back that it is done.”
In the spirit of her work ethic, Babineau also extends her healing hands to aid our fallen service members, by volunteering for the military funeral honor guard. The recruiting office in New York was next door to the honor guard office, so Babineau inquired about the position and completed the certification process.
“Every veteran deserves a flag,” said Babineau. “Folding the flag is that last actual memory the family is going to have. It's the last thing you give the family from the military that actually says thank you.”
“It goes back to helping people. I mean it may not seem like it but being able to give them that closure is helpful,” she continued.
“Specialist Babineau took the initiative to come into the honor guard office after [transferring to] the 130th MEB to inquire about joining the honor guard team,” said Sgt. Jaime Bueno, the Central Region Team leader of the military funeral honor guard program.
“She distinguished herself over her peers when she was selected to be on active duty operational support for one month,” said Bueno, of Raleigh, N.C. “She is an [outstanding] soldier who is always striving to become a better soldier.”
Babineau is moving up the ranks in her field and has aspirations of building a career in the military that leads to retirement. She completed the Warrior Leaders Course (WLC) on Jan. 24, just before attending February drill. Instead of relishing a job well done for this present accomplishment, she focused on the next task at hand ... completing upcoming requirements for her military occupation.
“WLC was informative,” said Babineau. “It was a good experience to add to my military foundation. As a [junior enlisted], actually [practicing leadership responsibilities] gave me a perspective on how much hard work it is.”
“Joining the military is life-changing,” said Babineau. “People don't realize when coming into the military, how much of a family it is; despite the fact that I am in the National Guard and I am still with my family, [the Guard] is my family. There has not been a time when an issue arose that I couldn't go to somebody.”
“It's hard work but it's worth it,” she continued. “But if one of my kids wanted to join the military, I would probably be like my stepfather and want them to choose my branch.”
By Army National Guard Sgt. Ruth McClary
Provided through DVIDS
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