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Michelle Green served in Air Force and Army reserves

by Rick Thomas | November 6, 2021 at 10:00 p.m. | Updated November 16, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.

TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Like most young adults, Michelle Green thought she had life figured out by the time she was in her mid-to-late teens.

When she looked at herself closely, though, it wasn't what she wanted to see. She was 17, a single mother, partied too much and wasn't headed in any specific direction career-wise.

"I was lost," she admits. "I'm a no-nonsense, straightforward person and I needed more discipline and stability in my life."

It wasn't that Green didn't have stability. Her mother was one of those "angels in the community" who helped everybody she could, any way she could.

"She was my rock," Green said. "I love her dearly and always will."

Green decided to follow several of her hometown friends in a different direction.

"I joined the Air Force Reserve," she said. "I wanted to see the world."

She always seems to do things first in her family.

"I was the first to graduate high school, I was the first to be awarded a basketball scholarship to college. I was the first to go to college. I was the first to join the military ..."

Green said she believes "everything happens for a reason," including the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon.

"I first noticed a lot of people crowded around a TV watching intensely," she said. "Everybody was kinda dazed and trying to figure out what was happening. I, like everyone else, wanted to know 'who, what, why.' We had never seen anything like this, so it was hard to understand."

After that, young men and women like Green wanted to do their patriotic duty; to defend their country, their homeland. The United States launched "Operation Enduring Freedom" after those horrible attacks by terrorists.

"I think it scared a lot of people, because we hadn't been attacked on our homeland like that before," she said.

The military usually issues two ways new recruits can be assigned. Green was first assigned to the military police.

"That didn't work for me," she said. "But the second choice, medical technician, wasn't really what I was hoping for, either."

She went into the medical part and was responsible for setting up temporary hospitals and keeping the doctors' tools and instruments clean and sanitized. The entire hospital had to be free of infection-causing bacteria and such.

"Yeah, it was sort of like a M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit that appeared on TV for so long," she said. "Except I was in the Air Force Reserve, not the Army."

After she left the Air Force, it wasn't long before she decided to join the Army Reserves.

"I went in the same rank, E4, that I had in the Air Force," Green said. "It wasn't like I was climbing the career ladder, though."

Switching branches of service is like day and night, she said.

"The Air Force is about so many technical things and a lot of high-technology machines and computers are involved," Green said. "The Army is more of a hands-on, physical branch that does a lot of the hard things, like digging ditches, making roads and those sort of things."

While she never went overseas or saw any combat duty, she is pleased with how the military helped her.

"If definitely helped me to become a better person, a more responsible person, and it gave me a lot of the confidence I have in my life today. It allowed me to become a stronger person who has good leadership abilities."

Green said veterans, especially those who risked their lives in combat, deserve the recognition and appreciation from the American people they were defending.

"If you see a veteran or a person who is wearing veterans' attire, like a baseball cap or something with military on it, you should go up to that person, shake his or her hand and tell them 'Thank you,' for serving our country. The words, 'Good job' also go a long ways."

Green used her veterans benefits to acquire a bachelor degree in sociology. A sociology major focuses on the study of humans. Students in this major explore the diversity of social behavior and interactions.

"I love studying people's different reactions to different cultures and things," she said. "Everybody is different and seeing how people react to one another can be a mystical experience."

Green has worked the past nine years in the Bowie County Probation Department. Again, she credits the military for helping her in the career.

"There's a lot different cultures and people in the military, and I got to see it firsthand when I was in the service," she said. "I think it prepared me for my career in criminal justice."

She needs "about five more classes" to complete her master's degree in the criminal justice field.

"I tell people I've been working on my master's about nine years," she joked. "Actually, I need to just focus and get it done."

Her mother's upbringing and caring nature remains a strong force in Green's life today.

"I'll never forget, Sept. 20. That's when she passed away at age 46 -- I was 26-- after a long, hard battle with breast cancer," she said. "The cancer metastasized to her liver and she developed all types of tumors there. It's still a traumatic event in my life, but I'm so thankful I had her in my life and I got to care for her during her last days."

When some of Green's lifelong friends see pictures of her now, they say she looks so much like her mother.

"That used to bother me, but I'm proud to be her daughter, especially with everything she did for the community," she said. "I actually wrote a poem about her ... and it was published in a book, so I guess I'm an author."

She has been to numerous bases across the country, but it doesn't compare to the journey her life has taken her on. I wouldn't have missed it for the world," she said. "Those experiences are my life."

Print Headline: Michelle Green served in Air Force and Army reserves

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