Military Life

Stories from Service Members

The best way to learn about military life is from the people who serve every day. Each will tell you there’s so much more to a career in the Military than just putting on a uniform. Here are a few of their stories. For more, request a copy of FUTURES.

Commitment & Camaraderie

Lieutenant Commander Jesse Harms describes how support in the Coast Guard can come from any individual, regardless of rank, standing or place in the community he serves. His parents, Tom and Annie, couldn't be more proud of what this network has done to help Jesse progress through his career.

Length 1:26 View Transcript


Lieutenant Commander Jesse Harms, U.S. Coast Guard:   As soon as you step into a new unit, you're looking for mentors. Sometimes you have people that are 40 years old working for you, and you're 23. Those people have a wealth of experience. You're still technically the boss, but they're the people that you lean on for most of your decision making. So you learn to be humble right away in how you go about making really critical decisions for the United States, and you learn that anyone can have information that can help make a situation better.

Jesse:  The most junior person or the most senior person in a unit can be your coach through a situation. It's a very small community of people that you grow and lean on for all sorts of issues in your life.

Annie Harms:   I love that he has built a community for himself here.

Tom Harms:    It was kind of how we function as a family, and he's kept it up. So I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to meet the people that have taken over for me, that are growing my son through adulthood. It's special.

Annie:    It's really a wonderful thing, as a parent, to look back and look at your kids, and feel like, wow, he made good choices in his life. I just couldn't be any prouder of him.


Part-Time Service, Full-Time Growth

Learn how the Army National Guard has given Corporal Amayah Littlewolf the confidence to grow not only as a soldier with great ambitions, but as a mature young adult who makes her mother, Wenona Kingbird, very proud.

Length 1:22 View Transcript


Corporal Amayah Littlewolf, U.S. Army National Guard:   When I first joined the Guard, I was pretty shy and not very confident because I thought, "Wow, I really don't belong here. I'm never going to make it in this." And then I went to the basic training, and I graduated one of the top students. I went to advanced individual training, and graduated one of the top students again. And then I've just been excelling and like whatever I do.

Amayah:   I feel like I've gained a lot of confidence and some really, really, really good friends. They're my girls, my second family.

Wenona Littlewolf:   She's grown a lot as a soldier. My confidence in her has also grown and I know that she could handle herself.

Amayah:   I think a really big goal that's always been something that I want to do is become a noncommissioned officer, like an E-5 Sergeant. Once you become an NCO, you lead people and you better them as soldiers, so you're almost like a mentor.

Wenona:   I really think the military path for her is something that just fits with her. It's just clicked. I just see her light up when she talks about it. It spills over into her everyday life. She's doing what parents set out for the children to do, and it's a goal. I feel that the military has been a big, big part of that.

From ROTC to Active Duty

Name: Cadet Brian Corey Abrams
Service Branch: Army Reserve
Hometown: Chicago, IL

As a student at Chicago State University, Brian majors in community health while also participating in the ROTC. He organizes and leads physical training, or PT, for his fellow ROTC students at school. While at home, he serves as an inspiration for his family.

Brian Corey Abrams: ROTC Cadet and Family Man

ROTC Cadet Brian Corey Abrams will soon be graduating from Chicago State University to become an active duty logistics officer in the Army. See how the Military and his family have helped him succeed.

Length 2:11 View Transcript


Cadet Brian Abrams, U.S. Army ROTC:   My name is Brian Abrams.  I’m from Chicago, Illinois.  I attend Chicago State University.  I’m also a part of the ROTC program there.  And in the Reserve, as well.  Once I learned all the opportunities and the different paths I can take, my life has changed dramatically.  With the education that I’m getting now and with the graduating, becoming second lieutenant, looking back, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be here, to be honest with you.  I am a busy guy.  Along with being in the ROTC and being a full-time student and working on the weekends doing security...  So I stay busy.

Brian's Grandmother:  He’s a delight to have around.  My two oldest grandson, he’s like a father role.  They look up to Corey.  He’s a positive example.

Cousin 1:  I look up to him.  Because he want us to grow up and be successful, just like him.  He want -- to know how great it is.  He don’t like no C’s, or else, on our report card.

Cousin 2:  Yeah, like the...

Cousin 1:  So he want us to...  Because you want to...

Cousin 2:  Get all A’s, straight down.

Brian:   I hope that I inspire them, you know, to become whatever they want to become.  You know, I always tell them, “You can do whatever you want to do in life,” you know, “become president or a lawyer, a doctor,” you know, “You just have to work hard.”  By me being able to spend time with them...  And they see me put on my uniform.  I go to work.  I go to school.  I think their dream becomes a little closer, you know, once they see me doing what I’m doing.  I think my grandparents will say I’m a determined individual.  I believe they’ll say I work hard.  And I think they’ll say I’m a -- I’m a man.  I’m ready for Chapter 2 of my life, whether they send me to Italy or Spain or within the States.  It’s exciting, because I’ve lived in Chicago for the majority of my life and I’m ready to see the world. 

"The simulator is so realistic. You can actually experience the real-time effects of the waves and current."

Caela Ivester

Caela Ivester

Coast Guard

Ongoing Training Pays Off

Name: Petty Officer 3rd Class Caela Ivester
Service Branch: Coast Guard
Hometown: Boston, MA

Caela trains in a high-tech simulator to ensure she and her navigation team can safely guide their Coast Guard cutter through the waters. She also has time to spend on the water, paddle-boarding in San Francisco Bay.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Caela Ivester
Petty Officer 3rd Class | Caela Ivester Coast Guard

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