"In 1991, I was a Platoon Sergeant, sent to Desert Storm."
After college, I became discouraged because I could not find a job. And like my friend, I decided to explore the military. So I went to the recruitment center and they told me I had to take a test. I passed! I remember my mother was in the Philippines on vacation. When she arrived home, I said, “Mom, I am going into the Army!" I was 27. My mother cried and cried…she told me that she wanted me to stay with her. I was too fragile to go into the army…. in the end, I went into the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). I was sent to Fort McClellan, Alabama for basic training…you know, boot camp!
Boot camp was very difficult. I am small, and short, you know. Even simple things such as marching were harder for me. Americans are taller in their stride. I would be marching in double steps just to keep up…. and of course I was always at the end of the line, because I was the shortest. It was a very strict environment. We would get tested on everything. I remember our beds had to be made a certain way, very tight. The test was that a dime had to bounce on the bed, and if it did not, you would loose points. Oh, I remember in Alabama there are a lot of snakes. I had to train at night with snakes all around…it was very frightening. But, I did it and I really worked hard. At graduation, I was one of two that received an immediate promotion to PV2.
My first assignment was in Fort Ritchie, Maryland. There is an underground communication, intelligence bunker that was built because there was a problem and the Pentagon’s had to be deactivated…so it was moved to Fort Ritchie…this is where I worked as a telephone operator. I stayed there until 1975.
Between 1975 and 1986, I was moved throughout the States and Germany.
In 1989 I was promoted to Sergeant 1st Class. And, in 1991, I was sent to Desert Storm…. I was a little scared. This would be the first time I would experience war and I was going to be in charge of Communications as Sergeant 1st Class.
I was there for only a year, because I was going to retire…at 20 years. I knew I did not want to continue…I was exhausted…I wanted to retire and relax. There were so many options available to me but, as I began to reflect back on my life, I realized I have been in love with the cross since I was a little girl. We had a crucifix in our house and one of the hands was missing. I was always looking for it...as long as I can remember, I would ask my father what happened to it...it must be somewhere, I was always looking for it.
When I was a very young girl my father went to mass everyday...One day, I asked him to wake me and I began going with him... we did not have a car so we walked. On the way we would always say the rosary....sometimes I did not wake up. When father came home I would be so disappointed. I would ask him why he did not wake me...I tried and tried to wake you Teresa, I could not be late for church. I do not know if that is when my vocation began. But I suppose so ...so I must thank my father for my vocation.