It all started with a promotion.
Angela Allen, the daughter of John and Diane Woodford of Redwood Falls – who is in her 17th year as a member of the Army Reserves – sent in a card she had received for a free tank top, and as a result she began a military journey.
“I was in my first year of college,” said Allen, a 1995 graduate of RVHS. “The recruiters started calling me, and I decided I would hear what they had to say, but I was sure that I would never actually enlist.”
Then her attitude changed.
The more Allen heard the more interested she became, and finally she approached her parents about the idea of enlisting.
Allen said they were surprised and asked why she wanted to do it. Although they cautioned her at first, Allen said her parents have been extremely supportive of her and her decision to join.
In fact, when Allen was recently promoted to major, they made the trip to California, where Allen currently resides, for the ceremony. Her parents then assisted Allen’s sons, Dominic and Zachery in the pinning ceremony.
When Allen first enlisted she was part of a chemical company in Sioux Falls. She connected there as she was a student at Aug-ustana College.
Allen signed up as a cook and spent her first years in the Reserves working in that capacity during those one weekend a month and two weeks a year commitments she agreed to as part of her enlistment.
When Allen initially signed up she only planned on serving for the six-years plus two years of active duty.
Yet, that plan also changed when the first six years had come to an end and she reenlisted for another six-year commitment.
In 2001 Allen had moved to California and joined a new company there – the 152nd theater informations operations group at Camp Parks, Calif.
Her time as a cook also came to an end, and she began a role in human resources.
Knowing she planned to stay on, Allen opted to move into leadership positions, and through what is known as direct commission she became a second lieutenant.
Allen climbed the ranks through her most recent promotion as a major.
With 17 years of service, Allen said she is in it for the long haul, and has three more years before she can officially retire at the 20-year mark.
“The Army has a culture all of its own,” said Allen, adding she appreciates the camaraderie she has experienced as part of her military service.
Those aspects are what convince people like her to stay in, and even though there is the potential to retire in 2016 that does not mean she has to quit.
Page 2 of 2 - She could stay in until age 65 when those who serve are forced to retire. Allen admitted she is considering the possibility of staying in past year 20.
While Allen has not seen active duty overseas, she was mobilized in support of active duty soldiers who were going to Iraq and Afghanistan.
In that role, she helped train other soldiers in getting themselves ready for the decision making pro-cesses they would be encountering. Allen surmised she was able to train thousands of soldiers in that role.
As a member of the Reserves, Allen is also able to continue in a civilian life, but her job now includes doing human resources work for the Reserves.
The only real difference in what she does outside of her role in the Reserves is she is albe to dress as a civilian at work.
With two boys, she also spends lots of time on the go getting them to their activities.
Allen expressed her appreciation to those, including her parents, who have supported her during her service.
“This is one way I can serve my country,” said Allen, adding she enjoys that opportunity.