US Army, South Korea, US, 2012-Present
Adrienne Gery was the fifth and last child born to Jim and Vivian Gery joining siblings Rob, Mike, Jeff and sister Allison. She grew up in the country near Carey Ohio.
From the young age of 8 or 9 Adrienne showed she had a tenacious, stubborn, determination to accomplish anything she set her mind to doing. Her mother recalls a Palomino pony named Casey they had brought home to “test out” to see if they wanted to keep it.
“Casey had three speeds, walk, trot and buck!”
Adrienne, at the age of eight, was “assigned” to Casey. He often would get startled and start bucking, whether in the corral, on a trail or even through corn fields, usually with Adrienne hanging on as long as she possibly could. When she eventually got bucked off, she always would pick herself up, dust off, and get back in the saddle.
Adrienne was a very good student all through school. She sings beautifully and was selected to sing in several high school musicals, including being Belle in Carey High School’s presentation of Beauty and the Beast. (Side note* Adrienne was selected to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” at her graduation from Army boot camp!) She also played clarinet very well earning the coveted “first chair” in band. Her favorite subjects in high school not surprisingly were choir and band. She also was a cheerleader and ran track and field events.
Aside from school activities Adrienne, and her older sister Allison, loved to ride horses competing in numerous Western and English riding competitions. They both qualified to compete at several Ohio State Fair events. The Gery family still has Adrienne’s quarter-horse Skip, now thirty, retired to pasture on the family farm.
Adrienne graduated from Carey High School in 2009. She completed Dental Assistant school earning an Expanded-functions dental assistant certification. She wanted to continue her education, but the cost was a factor. Adrienne made the choice to enlist in the US Army which allowed her to use her skills as a dental assistant to serve, while also fulfilling her other goals.
“I wanted to continue my education, see the world and serve my country.”
At first her mom and dad were not thrilled with her decision due to the many unknowns of military service. A family friend who was active Army reassured Vivian and Jim, especially about the low risk of support occupations in the military.
Adrienne completed Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Because of her civilian training she by-passed AIT and immediately was sent to Camp Casey, South Korea, designated as a 68E-Dental Specialist. She was tasked with managing the dental clinic at the camp earning the rank of Corporal during her stay there from 2012-2014.
She returned to the states to continue her training after South Korea to expand her skills, becoming qualified as a Dental Laboratory Technician. Being an NCO, she was assigned to do more administrative, supervisory and management duties. Her next duty station at Ft. Riley Kansas had her spending most of her time doing administrative tasks and almost no lab work, which was what she really wanted to do.
“I felt a little stagnant, wanting something more challenging, to maybe learn something new, as I had three years left on my contract.”
Adrienne choose to reclass by applying for a job in the Military Intelligence branch of the Army. She traveled to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, (*an Army fort located close to the Mexican border that had been established back in 1877!) to train in Military Intelligence with the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade. She has earned the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) and is currently stationed on the West Coast.
IN HER WORDS
Adrienne shared her thoughts about her journey thus far in the Army.
“I have been to Korea, the Horn of Africa and East Africa, as well as a number of permanent and TDY assignments throughout the U.S.. I always enjoy my time overseas, regardless of the location, because of the opportunities I’ve had to interact with and learn about different cultures and ways of life. I would have never been able to travel to some of these places or been able to experience what I have as a civilian.”
She also spoke about her experience as a woman in the US Army.
“I have never been treated any different than any other soldier. In my years of experience, the Army has done a good job rewarding soldiers, regardless of gender, for their hard work and extra efforts to complete their mission.
I have really enjoyed the people I’ve served alongside, the comradery, the travel, and the opportunity. The Army has given me more opportunities than I would have ever gotten as a civilian. I’ve learned a lot by being put in leadership positions and positions of responsibility.”
Adrienne shares the following advice to any young women considering the Army as a career possibility.
“I’ve learned a lot in the last eight years that I’ve served in the Army. There is no perfect job in life. It hasn’t always been easy or perfect however the Army has given me opportunities and experiences I would have never had in the civilian world. If you are thinking about joining, go for it! Overall, it’s been a positive adventure for me!”
Adrienne has almost completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology while serving and will graduate in the Spring. When her current Army contract is finished in two years, her goal is to pursue a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology as a civilian. Adrienne will have served the Army and her country for ten years. After earning her Ph.D, Adrienne’s goal is to make an impact on the military and veteran communities.
There is also life outside of the military base and Adrienne has learned to experience so many new adventures. Her favorite thus far is doing free-fall skydiving from airplanes. When I viewed her videos and questioned her sanity she explained,
“I had a co-worker in one of my units that would invite other unit members out for tandem jumps. I never thought about trying it, it was never a “bucket list” goal for me. Long story short I decided to go, and I loved it! A month after that first tandem jump I took the Accelerated Freefall (AFF) course, learned to skydive, and have earned two licenses, am working on getting my coaching license and have completed over 160 fun jumps so far! Overcoming my fear of heights has taught me a lot about myself and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way!”
Thank you SSG Gery for your dedication and service! Hooah!!!