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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Harry Andrew D. Gordon, Navy Reserve Region Readiness and Mobilization Command Everett Public Affairs
When Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) 2nd Class Kathleen Case joined the Navy in 2007, she expected to fulfill a dream and serve a 20-year active duty career, but those hopes were cut short due to family issues which resulted in an early out request.
“My dad was very sick and the Navy let me leave active duty to come home to Wyoming,” she said. “My command aboard USS Essex was supportive thankfully, but I had to OBLISERV into the Navy Reserve, which has kept me affiliated.”
With a lineage of military history, at least 104 of Case's family members have served in the military since the Civil War. Case sees it as her duty, not only to her family, but to her country, to continue her service.
“I promised my dad I’d earn a commission, so with any luck, someday soon I’ll be able to put on khakis and continue my service,” the 15-year veteran said.
With a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, Case graduates next month with a Master’s degree in Data Analytics, and has given herself a competitive edge for not only a commission, but work in the civilian sector.
As a laboratory technician with a local power plant, Case is responsible for ensuring the water used in the plant is as pure as possible, allowing the plant to maintain operations.
“The fuels experience I had with the Navy and aboard the ship gave me a leg up during the interview and hiring process," she said.
Her second full-time job is more in line with what most people expect in Wyoming. “My husband and I took our first stimulus check two years ago and bought six head of cattle,” she explained. “This year, we sold more than 210 [cattle] for processing.”
"We made a decision a few years ago to just follow our dreams and make ourselves happy,” the mother of four said. “Life is short. You gotta put your spurs on and get going.”