NORFOLK, Va. –
Sometimes, the path we set out on is just a starting point; some flexibility and well-planned redirects can land us in an even better position that we ever imagined.
In late 2019, Andrea Macadangdang had been in the Navy Reserve for five years and was about to go on her first mobilization as a Master-at-Arms 2nd Class. She felt a little unsure of herself.
This would be her first experience carrying out her duties as an MA on deployment. Unlike many Navy Reserve MAs, Macadangdang doesn’t have any civilian law enforcement experience. Her civilian job was in administration working for Navy Underwater Warfare Center.
This mobilization coincided with a difficult chapter of Macadangdang’s life. On top of the uncertainty of her first mobilization and the developing COVID-19 global pandemic, she was going through a divorce.
“This was going to be the first time where I would be an MA day in and day out for an extended period of time,” said Macadangdang. “I was one of the few females where I was stationed, I didn’t have a lot of quals, and in the back of my mind I had this big, personal life event I was dealing with. I guess I just felt like I had a chip on my shoulder.”
She used that feeling as motivation. She began working on her qualifications and quickly completed many of them, including dispatch and armory, working all the way up to becoming chief of the guard qualified.
“As I gained more knowledge, I also became more confident,” said Macadangdang. “I was the first female out of my group to finish my chief of the guard qualification, and I earned my spot as one of the four section leaders.”
This confidence and subject matter expertise would be crucial during an incident that occurred while she was on watch later during her deployment.
“We had a situation where someone was trying to sneak a phone onto our compound where phones were not allowed,” said Macadangdang. “I was able to recognize that something was wrong, locate the hidden phone and detain the person until NCIS arrived. We have [military assets] on our compound that can’t be photographed.”
Macadangdang was recognized for her actions that day by the base officer in charge. But it was her proficiency at her civilian job that earned her her next Navy orders.
She was helping Sailors with some administrative tasks during the demobilization process and a master chief petty officer who worked there was surprised an MA was so well-versed in the administrative process.
“A master chief who worked at Mobilization and Demobilization Support Center (formerly Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center) recognized the skillset I learned from my civilian job in Navy admin,” said Macadangdang.
In January 2022, the master chief contacted her asking her if she could come on orders to Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command (CNRFC) to help with the transition of mobilizing and demobilizing Reserve Sailors falling under CNRFC.
“Before I took the orders, I thought about why I had joined the Navy, and that was to make sure my kids received the benefits,” said Macadangdang. “You need a certain number of months to get the G.I. bill, which I could pass to my daughter; so, I decided to take the orders.”
What began as 45-day active duty for training (ADT) orders turned into year-long active duty for operational support (ADOS) orders. It was on these orders she decided to make the leap from selected reserve (SELRES) master at arms to training and administration of the reserve (TAR) yeoman. When she officially cross rated in September 2022, she had mixed emotions, but ultimately, she felt she had made the right choice.
“I was both happy and sad when my package was approved,” said Macadangdang. “It was hard to take the [MA] badge off after nine years, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made.” Now that she is TAR she is able to work toward her future goal of becoming a human resources officer.
“As a member of the TAR, I can use tuition assistance to complete my degree,” said Macadangdang. “My plan is to finish my degree and apply to commission as an HR officer.”
YN2 Macadangdang is taking advantage of the benefits available to her as a warfighter in the Navy Reserve to set and achieve goals for her and her family’s future. She is #ReadyNow and sets a fantastic example for more junior Sailors on how they can navigate a successful career in the Navy Reserve.