My Navy story starts 22 years ago. In my senior year of high school, I decided to join the Navy. This was very shocking to my family as we didn’t have ties to the Navy or the military in general. (Navy Pennant Flag – 5218). I had never been away from my home in Wisconsin (Wisconsin map – 3299) and the first place I was sent after boot camp was to Monterey, CA for language training at the Defense Language Institute. (Monterey Cypress Tree – 3550). Language school was over a yearlong and I had so many new experiences on the West coast, including meeting my future husband who had also just joined the Navy out of high school.

After many different schools in various states I was sent to my first duty station in Rota, Spain. Living in Spain and experiencing that culture was amazing, but I spent most of my time asking for temporary duty in Bahrain, an island county in the Persian Gulf. My fiancée was stationed there and I just wanted to be with him. Many people didn’t want the duty there so I volunteered twice before eventually getting stationed there myself. We even got married in Bahrain (camel – 1163), (calendar rope disk – 8339)! I transitioned out of the Navy and started my journey as a Navy spouse. We moved to Florida and had our two children (Insightful November charm – 1580, Insightful August charm – 1580) there while my husband was going to school. His Navy career since then has taken us to many places to include Georgia, California, and Maryland.

The two places that are the most memorable are Japan (Japanese Torii Gate – 1491) and Hawaii (Plumeria Flower – 2304). I am so thankful that my children were old enough to remember living in Japan and most recently Hawaii. The experiences they had going to school in both of those places are priceless. I am now in my current stop in this journey. We are now living back in Florida (horse conch shell – 2086). My kids will graduate from high school in the state in which they were born and also where my husband grew up. I don’t know when this journey will end as my husband loves the Navy and isn’t ready to retire yet. It will be strange to continue on without my children as they will be off in college or whatever they choose to do and living their own lives while we continue to explore new places. This journey has been full of amazing experiences and travels as well as tears when it’s time to move again. I know my story is not unique, there are thousands of military families just like mine with their own similar stories. I wouldn’t trade this for anything. It’s hard to try and summarize the last 20 years into these sentences. The charms I chose represents what I consider the most important life events to me as well as the places that are the most memorable.

– Donna S., August Winner


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