By: Marleen Radigan
Growing up I was told I should pursue nursing or administration like others in my family, but nursing school never felt like a fit for me. Living in the DC-area gave me exposure to and a great appreciation for service men and women – so I took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and discovered I was mechanically inclined. Even though no one in my family had ever served in the military, I took this new understanding and made the leap, and as they say: it has made all the difference.
In basic training, I learned to truly listen, and follow directions without question, always keeping my eyes forward (literally). After basic training I was sent to Aerospace Ground Equipment (AGE) school at Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois. I didn’t walk to class every day, I marched. And I didn’t sit in class for an hour at a time, I sat for eight straight hours – learning about engines, generators, hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical components, air pressure and much more. From the beginning my military career was punctuated by my commitment.
After graduation I was sent overseas to RAF Mildenhall where I started my hands-on career supporting such aircraft as the C-5, C-130, AWAX, the SR-71 Blackbird among others. I learned to work long hours and weekends to support the aircraft and I realized that every ounce of attention to detail I put into my work mattered at a much bigger scale. No matter the conditions, keeping the equipment running and the aircraft flying was no small feat.
When I was pregnant, I shifted to administrative duties where I learned the art of filing, typing evaluations and office tools – the military way – with great precision. No matter the task, every job had Technical Orders (TOs) to ensure every action whether administrative or technical was consistent from base to base and office to office.
I was deployed to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain where I learned a lot about foreign governments, people and laws. I was the sole AGE mechanic while deployed in Kuwait, which kept me on my toes; but I was commended for my work by an officer who took notice – and to this day exceeding expectations continues to be important to me.
The Lasting Impressions from My Military Career
The military pushed me to constantly learn, to support my fellow brothers and sisters in uniform, to crave and appreciate discipline and consistency at work and most importantly to take great pride in everything I do and see how it matters in the big picture.
My military experience has taught me to:
- Be self-confident and exercise control and discipline in every circumstance
- Never come to the table with a problem unless I also have two or more solutions
- Never fear making decisions
- Recognize my potential and realize my skills aren’t pigeon-holed into any one career path
- Bring the “volunteer” attitude to everything I do
My Civilian Chapter: Being Part of the ViON Family
I joined ViON two years ago and what I love most about it is that ViON’s culture really appreciates these tenets of military life and supports veterans at every step. In this environment, I know that showing up early matters, that the discipline of approaching your work with attentiveness is appreciated and that we all still have a mission no matter what part of the job we are doing.
Now my mission is to make everyone’s life easier and uncomplicated by helping them with processes and tasks – taking things off their plates – to free their time to do what they do best. Just like my mission in the military was to keep the aircraft flying, now I’m making sure the sales team and executives can keep “flying” too. I take great pride in that.
I was proud to wear the uniform. I was a proud volunteer for my country. Now I carry that pride through the doors of ViON every day and it really has made all the difference.