Christina Jackson-Davis’s story was one of the most challenging for me to write, not just because she’s one of the more senior spouses (in terms of years tied to the military) who submitted her story to me, but because her story has so many inspiring moments. Welcome to Marrying the Army, Christina Jackson-Davis.
Escaping an Abusive Marriage
Christina’s story begins in 1997, when she enlisted in the U.S. Army to provide for herself and her two children after escaping a dangerous domestic violence situation with her then-husband. The Army’s medical benefits, steady paycheck, and promises of a possible future college education offered Christina opportunities to take care of herself and her kids.
It was the toughest time I ever been through, and I had to make some very tough decisions about my survival – mentally and physically – as well as raising these children up in a healthy environment.”
Enlisting in the Army
Christina worked as a Human Resource Specialist (75 H) and later as a Corrections Specialist (95 C) under the Military Police. Now remarried, she and her husband were PCSed to Fort Lewis, Washington, where they both received notice of impending deployments; him to Iraq and her to Guantanamo Bay.
Rather than be forced to separate their children (they now had three) during their respective deployments, Christina and her husband made the difficult choice that she would not re-enlist in the Army. Instead, after 7 years of active duty, Christina stayed back with their kids while her husband left for Iraq. It was 2003.
7 Years of Active Duty
The Army Community Alumni Program (ACAP) helped Christina learn where to look for work, and it also taught her to write together a more effective resume cover letter. The program helped her understand the importance of her DD214 (discharge paperwork) for accessing veteran’s benefits, as well.
The transition time would prove to be challenging to say the least. It’s hard to believe that was ten years ago. Everyone back then in those briefings made it seem like people were lining up trying to hire veterans with all our discipline, training, and transferrable skills we have. Well, let me tell you that were farthest from the truth.”
It didn’t take long for finances to become a problem for Christina and her husband. She was stressed, but she knew that it was important to look for solutions at home while her husband was in Iraq.
Going Back to School
Christina used her Montgomery GI Bill to enroll in an associate’s degree program in Business & Human Resources. Not long after, she learned that she qualified for the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, which provided more funding than her GI Bill had.
The Phone Call From Downrange
In August, Christina received a phone call from a field hospital in Iraq: Her husband had been involved in an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attack…
Come back tomorrow to read the rest of Christina’s story.