BAGHDAD– Less than one year ago, Pfc. Andrea Miedzionoski, Forward Support Company, 101st Engineer Battalion, found herself signing on the dotted line at her local military entrance processing station.
Miedzionoski, 30, from Peabody, Mass., now serves as a signal support systems specialist, working on the company’s convoy support team and helping maintain their radios.
“I’m happy to be doing my job, it suits me,” she said of working with the team.
Miedzionoski was inspired by her cousin, an Army Ranger, to join the Massachusetts Army National Guard. She saw the sense of pride he had for himself and his country.
“I was looking to have that same pride in myself as my cousin had. I was looking for some meaning in my life,” stated Miedzionoski.
Miedzionoski, attended basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., then went on to her military occupational specialty school at Fort Gordon, Ga. She graduated and immediately reported to her home station with the 101st Engineer Battalion, in Whitinsville, Mass. One day later, the unit departed for their mobilization station at Ft. McCoy, Wis., to begin the train up for deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“Reporting to a unit that was leaving the next day was a little nerve wracking; it definitely had its ups and downs. Ultimately, I think it was the best situation though. I was still focused on my military training I had just received,” Miedzionoski explained.
Her main concern with deploying so soon after graduating was she knew no one in the unit. But as soon as she arrived, she was welcomed with open arms. “I came into a tight-knit group and was instantly taken in and warmly welcomed. I’ve quickly created a very strong bond with everyone here. We’ve got a great team," she said.
After the deployment is over, Miedzionoski is interested in going back to school. She’s leaning toward the medical field and would like to try to reclassify as a combat medic.
“I’ll possibly go on active duty, but I wanted to try the National Guard first to get my feet wet,” Miedzionski said. Since joining the unit, Miedzionoski has continuously stepped up to the plate to get the job done, displaying the initiative and motivation of a well seasoned Soldier.