I Joined the Navy at 19 and Never Thought I’d Still Be Enlisted 9 Years Later, But I’m Proud to Say I Am

Today, we honor veterans who have served honorably in our Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. For me, I joined the Navy when I was 19 years old and planned to only do my required four years and then get out. Now—nine years, four commands and two children later—I am still enlisted and proud. Choosing the military means that you have to be flexible and ready to go at a moment’s notice. You have to be ready to support things and people even if they were not your first choice. You have to roll with the punches, with only the knowledge that you are doing it for your country.

A Family Affair

Every morning, my boys help me lace up my boots. They enjoy wearing my eight point cover and they love to say their mom is in the Navy. But at the same time I see their little hearts break if I have to leave for training or cannot attend a school event. Military life is not easy—not for the member, nor for the family that supports us. It is an occupation that only 0.5 percent of America’s population choose to hold.

A Lifelong Education

Whether out to sea, overseas in war zones, up in the air or countryside, we learn to do what is necessary to complete the task at hand. What many people may not realize, though, is that while working full time each day, many service members still find time to enroll in college to further their education. We find time to volunteer in the community and maintain a family, because we know that it is our place as members of the U.S. Armed Forces to be an example for those around us—especially the youth. To those countless men and women past and present who volunteered to serve unwaveringly, who put their lives on the line without knowing if they would make it back home to the ones they love, today we salute you.
Photos by Yasmine Muhammad.
Yasmine Muhammad is a sailor in the United States Navy and has been serving for eight years. Yasmine works as a mass communication specialist, which specializes in public affairs and visual information such as photography, journalism and videography in an effort to tell the Navy's story to the general public. She is the mother of two young boys and is currently in school working towards a ...

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