FORT IRWIN, Calif., August 18, 2015 — U.S. Army Reserve warrant officer candidate Sofia Olds credits the Army National Guard with a lifetime of success. She started her military career in the Florida Army National Guard at age 20 as a motor transport operator.
Olds, now assigned to the 787th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Dothan, Alabama, became interested in joining the National Guard by hearing her husband’s stories of travel and exciting work.
She joined the 144th Transportation Company, in Mariana, Florida, and stayed there for 12 years, working her way up to the rank of staff sergeant, and earning a position in the Active Guard Reserve program as a company supply sergeant. While working full time, then-Staff Sgt. Olds deployed to Iraq, she earned an undergraduate degree, and then she continued her education and earned a master’s degree in social work.
With her master’s degree in hand, she set her sights on fulfilling her dream of helping fellow veterans. To meet this goal, Sofia obtained a conditional release from her AGR position and transitioned to a part-time position at the 787th CSSB as a warrant officer candidate.
Olds said she believes the Army National Guard was critical to her success. She said the main thing she has gained from her service is time management and the ability to deal with stress.
“I could not have worked full time and went to school without the discipline learned with the Guard,” she said.
Olds said she also benefited from using the GI Bill and the Florida National Guard’s state program “Educational Dollars for Duty” to help pay 100 percent of her education costs. To top it off, she and her husband just purchased their dream home with the help of the Veterans Affairs’ Home Loan Program.
Now she spends her days working in her social work field of study to obtain the 1,500 hours required to become a licensed clinical social worker. Once she fulfills the requirement, she said her goal is to work for the VA helping veterans as a re-adjustment counselor.