Part one: U.S. Army
By Alex Cordero
This month, in honor of Military Appreciation Month, we will be featuring members of the Pasadena community who have served our country. Sometimes we may not like what we read when we learn about certain stories from the people willing to share their experiences, but when we take the time to learn from their stories we need to remember to listen with respect and compassion. Because these are the stories we really need to learn from in order to realize that change is necessary for future generations in the military. The following story embodies all of what the U.S Army values are, and more.
Ariel Bailey, a U.S Army veteran from the War on Terror, joined the Army after nearly causing a family feud over her consideration of wanting to join the Navy. “My father was Army, my brother was Army,” but she knew exactly what she wanted to gain out of serving and ultimately the Army had the job that she wanted. “I wanted to be a linguist. I wanted to actually have the opportunity to get out and do things.” Bailey was based in Fort Gordon, Georgia; she was hoping to go to other countries like her brothers but she stayed in the U.S. When asked how she felt about staying stateside while serving, Bailey had multiple answers, but shared with me that this particular fact about her career in the Army leaves her with the feeling of not having done enough. “Deployed in place means that you aren’t there in a certain sense, you hear things and you see things as if you are in the thick of it, so it’s a strange dichotomy”
As a cryptologic linguist for the U.S. Army her responsibilities were to translate code and decode messages from the enemy. When asked if she ever came across information she may not want to know, “most of it yeah, which is why I tend to dislike it when people say women can’t have PTSD.” She described how many assignments do not involve physically being at the forefront of combat but how that does not mean that you do not experience combat in other forms. “You see it, you hear it, you’ll never forget it.”
While listening to Bailey, I began to admire the level of tenacity that seemed to just come natural to her as she described the types of experiences she had to face just for being a woman in the military. “I have shown up in my dressed greens and later dressed blues at a hospital to check in on a family member and gotten that look like why am I wearing that uniform.” Bailey displays all of the Army values that are necessary to begin breaking barriers in the military when it comes to how women are perceived and treated. We need to start listening and supporting all the women in the military deployed or not, in combat or not; these women all deserve the same level of respect and honor one is entitled to after serving in any type of U.S. Armed Force.
Bailey is a young veteran who is part of an intense history project in the making at The American Legion Pasadena Post 13 to transform the post into a museum. On July 22, The American Legion in Pasadena will be celebrating its centennial anniversary, and Bailey along with other volunteers of the Post are working on showcasing 100 years of the Pasadena Post 13’s history and turning this project into a lasting museum for visitors and for the community to enjoy for generations to come. Her goal is to portray the true diversity that Post 13 has had over the past 100 years and showcase the impact it should have on the younger community.
Bailey wants to establish a scholarship for women veterans who are residents of Pasadena or are attending school in Pasadena. She has begun getting everything in place to get the scholarship established. Now it’s just a matter of having the time to get it started.