The following guest post was written by AER Assistance Officer, CSM (R) Tracy Anbiya
In 1984, fresh out of high school and discovering that college wasn’t the right fit for me at that time in my life, I enlisted in the Army with no expectation of where my Army career might take me. Thirty-two years later, I finished my career as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment.
The Army provided me with so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. I began as a personnel clerk at Fort Hood, Texas, and finished with the rank Command Sergeant Major! My mother taught me and my siblings how to believe in ourselves. She was my role model and showed me that regardless of my skin color or gender, I just as good as the next person. I try to exhibit those lessons today.
Three kids and ten years later, I was ready to leave the Army and focus on being a mother. However, a friend and fellow Soldier encouraged me to balance both. She believed I could be a great Soldier and a great mother at the same time. It was then that I decided to make serving in the Army my career.
Serving in the Army allowed me to return to college. I earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Today, I serve as a financial assistance administrator at Army Emergency Relief, the Army’s nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the Army take care of its own. I even went back to school, again! Last year I earned a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Developing Healthy Communities, Nutrition, Behavior, and Physical Activity from Tufts University.
As I celebrate Black History Month, I can’t help but reflect on the opportunities that service in the Army afforded me. My father died when I was a senior in high school and my mother bore the responsibility of raising our family without a scent of complaint or discontent. As a young black female, I knew I faced an uphill path. My mother gave me confidence and the Army gave me the chance to lift myself up and build the life I have today.