News: From enlisted to warrant: Soldier shares her experiences, motivation during Women’s History Month
Story by Sgt. Lauren Twigg
PHOENIX - As a young girl growing up on an Arizona Navajo Reservation, Warrant Officer Tanya Gonzales recalls listening to family and friends talk about their military careers and experiences, and how her own thoughts of joining began to grow.
“When I turned 17, and a few months away from my high school graduation, I had to make some quick decisions. Luckily my aunt and guidance counselor sat down with me and we discussed options,” said Gonzales, a human resources technician with the Joint Forces Headquarters of the Arizona Army National Guard. “I eventually decided to enlist into the Army to help pay for college by using the Montgomery G.I. Bill, but it has now taken me much further than that.”
Gonzales said she was offered three job choices upon initial enlistment: a cook, mechanic, or an administrative clerk.
“I didn’t have much of a selection back then, and being only 17 years old, I made the mistake of choosing a job that wasn’t the best fit for my skills,” said Gonzales about her first assignment as a mechanic. “This is why I do what I do today. I offer advice regarding military and civilian careers so others make informed decisions.”
As Gonzales progressed in her military career, she achieved the rank of sergeant first class. After more time in service, much consideration and reflection on her passion to serve, she decided on a new path.
“I transitioned from a senior NCO to the warrant officer corps because I wanted to continue to make a difference in the human resources field,” she said. “I’ve learned that as a warrant officer, you get to see issues in a bigger and strategic perspective.”
Gonzales said she enjoyed being an NCO, and equally enjoys polishing her skills and influencing others to do the same in her new status.
“I became a warrant officer because I wanted to continue to influence, train and inspire our younger generation of Soldiers in the HR field,” Gonzales said. “What we do in HR can, with timeliness and accuracy, affect an individual’s career, pay, and veterans’ benefits after they retire or separate from the military.”
Among all of the challenges she faced, Gonzales said her biggest struggle is being a single parent.
“I am one of many single parents serving in the military. All of my adult life has been military related, so trying to go back into parenting after long deployments was not easy,” she said.
According to Gonzales, gender should make no difference in what people do or how they do it. She encourages other female service members to use that perspective as well.
“I believe any female can accomplish a goal they set for themselves, just don’t give up or lose sight of those ambitions - whether it’s a military or civilian career,” she said. “Always continue to learn your job, learn it well, and above all, learn to be a good and effective leader, especially one that can lead and develop their team.”
This work, From enlisted to warrant: Soldier shares her experiences, motivation during Women’s History Month, by SGT Lauren Twigg, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.