“I had taken the exam 4 times before I made E-6. Most people in my job do not make E-6 early. So me making E-6 at 8 years was a big deal.”
Meet US Navy culinary specialist and barracks manager, GirlCrew San Antonia member, Lauren Kaibetoney
A life in the military is not a common career path for many here in Ireland, but for GirlCrew San Antonio member, Lauren Kaibetoney, the US Navy provides many exciting challenges. Since enlisting, Lauren has been stationed in several locations worldwide including Yokosuka, Japan; Everett, Washington; San Diego, California; Manama, Bahrain; and San Antonio, Texas.
The US Navy has been in operation for over 238 years and currently offers roles in 60 fields that cover everything from first responders to engineering, from arts and media to chaplaincy. For obvious reasons, the navy evokes images of boats but the US Navy prides itself on being multidimensional so it also encompasses aviation and land components. Currently, Lauren’s “job or rate is a Culinary Specialist and [her] rank is an E-6 or Petty Officer First Class.”
Alongside this she also manages a barracks on Fort Sam Houston. Ensuring that everything is running smoothly is vital in this industry and for Lauren this is especially true -“my job basically entails managing a restaurant like business. I order food, conduct provision inventories, and manage meal payments.” While a career in the military may be an unusual choice it’s one that Lauren relishes and one which she won’t be changing soon, “I joined the US Navy when I was 20 years old from Phoenix, Arizona [in] 2007…I have been in for a little over 8 years and re-enlisted for another 3 years.”
1. What is the best thing about your role?
I work with sailors who have just joined the Navy, so teaching them about military customs and courtesies is meaningful to my role as a First Class Petty Officer.
2. What did you find most challenging about it?
There are a handful of young sailors who have this “Why?” mentality, which at times can be a struggle because they seem to want to question everything you put out to them. This is where teaching them about military bearing comes in and rank structure.
3. What is your proudest work related achievement to date?
My proudest moment has been when I made the rank of E-6. Making E-6 in my job isn’t an easy one. I had to be an E-5 for at least 3 years before I was eligible to take the E-6 exam. Once I became eligible, I had to take an exam, and if I passed and met the quota for E-6 then I was able to advance. I had taken the exam 4 times before I made E-6. Most people in my job do not make E-6 early. So me making E-6 at 8 years was a big deal.
4. What would be your one tip to others who want to get involved in this industry?
Be physically fit and mentally prepared for physical and emotional stress before joining.
5. What would be your motto in life, and in work?
“Live as if you’ll die today, dream as if you’ll live forever” –James Dean and “The best way to find yourself is in the service of others” –Mahatma Ghandi
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