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Taking Care In This Section

Susan Gifford

Photo of Susan GiffordSystems Administrator, Radiology IT Support

In 1978, as a high school student in Rutland, Vermont, I realized that college was not something I wanted to do at that time. I walked to the Army recruiting station in downtown Rutland after school one day and spoke with the recruiter. I told him I wanted to go to Hawaii for my entire tour and said, “What have you got for me?” He laughed and said, “How about 64 Charlie”? I said, “Sounds good!” He said, “Don’t you want to know what it is?” I told him if it takes me to Hawaii for three years, its fine by me. He then proceeded to tell me that the job was a motor transport operator. I told him it sounded like fun. I took the aptitude test which showed I was mechanically inclined (must be an old test) and so I signed up in the delayed entry program and was on my way right after graduation.

I did my basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and was in the first group of recruits to be integrated with both men and women. My advanced training was completed at Fort Dix, New Jersey followed by Fort Shafter, Hawaii, for the remainder of my tour! I was the personal driver for the Fort Shafter Post commander and also for the chief of Tripler Army Medical Center. In hindsight, I probably should have chosen a career I would have actually enjoyed doing for life but as a high school student didn’t have a clue what that might be. I did, however, have an awesome three years serving active duty in the U.S. Army in beautiful Hawaii and took away skills that I take pride in today: organization and discipline. Both skills serve me well and I wouldn’t go back and change anything about the experience. To those serving on active duty in our Armed Forces and all of our reservists, guardsmen and veterans: stay safe and thank you!

Photo: Susan Gifford, U.S. Army