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    Women's Month at United States Military Hospital-Kuwait



    Story by Staff Sgt. Michael Romero 

    3rd Medical Command Deployment Support

    LTC Lonis was Born in Utica, New York and currently lives in Syracuse, New York. She Commissioned into the Army November 1998 as a 66H with an 8A identifier which has since changed to a 66 Sierra, a critical care nurse. LTC Lonis has worked in critical care for 23 years, then went back to school to become a nurse practitioner graduating in May 2019 just prior to deployment. Married for 17 years with three children and a Great Dane named boom-boom-pow. Her hobbies are spending time with family and friends, going to the beach and skiing. Her motto to live by: "No matter what your doing do it well, everything is important."

    Interview with LTC Lonis by SGT Rogerson

    SGT Rogerson: Why did you choose to become an army nurse?
    LTC Lonis: I would say a combination of pragmatism and patriotism. I wanted to figure out a way to get an education, it was extremely important at the time, but I have always wanted to wear the uniform.
    SGT Rogerson: What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to a woman thinking of starting a career in the military?
    LTC Lonis: You could absolutely do it if it’s in your heart.
    SGT Rogerson: How important is it for women to lift each other up, and what does that mean to you?
    LTC Lonis: It’s extremely important. Not only for women, but for everyone. Civility in practice, whether it’s in the military or in your professional practice, even in your regular life is important. Try not to bring people down, if you can’t, then do it respectfully. Always try to bring people up.
    SGT Rogerson: Absolutely, I agree. What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
    LTC Lonis: That’s a difficult one for me. Career is very important. Especially in this generation, women tend to put their career first. I have a daughter that I’ve talked to about this. What’s in your heart is
    what you should put first. Your career might not be that. If it’s not that, then go for whatever is in your heart. Like I said, knowing yourself and knowing your goals or rolling with the changes as your goals evolve, is the most important thing. If your career is what’s your goal for that period in time, just put that first and go for it.
    SGT Rogerson: What woman inspires you and why?
    LTC Lonis: So I told you this was a hard one to answer. I am going to go with Hilary Clinton for this one, because I feel she is a trail blazer. I feel she has probably been persecuted for being that person. She is certainly someone to look up to. She graduated top of her class at Yale. Although she has probably made mistakes like any other human, she has written and published and been a part of things. I think her greatness got lost in wrongful persecution. So for that, I always try to remember that people may not want to always hear what I have to say. But if what you have to say is right even, though you may have made mistakes along the way, you should still say what’s right. People should not judge you on any
    other fact. Definitely not gender, definitely not politics, but on what you are saying. If that’s correct, then you have to say it. Just be a trailblazer. And I feel that that is what she is representative in my generation. It is probably different for younger folks, but for me I guess it would have to be her.
    SGT Rogerson: So sometimes you might make waves, but that ok if it’s the right thing.
    LTC Lonis: In my opinion, I truly believe a lot of time was spent not making waves just to be able to be heard. But then when you’re finally heard, what your saying is important and you finally have a platform, people are throwing stones at you. What you say never gets heard, just the stones are seen. I feel that a really amazing woman was lost in that.
    SGT Rogerson: What have you seen change in relation to the women in the military throughout your career and what do you think has been the most significant change?
    LTC Lonis: Women in the military I feel have always had really strong mentors. As far as females in the military it has evolved and progressed in their way of allowing diversity and things of that nature. I feel
    that women have certainly been a part of that. Seeing women generals. They used to be sort of really rare, now you do see a few women with stars on their chest. It’s amazing. I feel the military as well as society are realizing that we have equal potential as a gender. We may not have the same physical strength but we have equal human potential, regardless of our gender. It really has little to do with much else than just going for what you want. You can do that in the military. I don’t believe that women will ever have the physical strength that men have, but the mental and emotional and potential strengths are all there. The military has come a far way with that.
    SGT Rogerson: What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
    LTC Lonis: I think the biggest challenge will be that we have become somewhat of an aseptic society in where instead of saying what you really feel, you might try to avoid that because you don’t want to hurt
    anyone or make waves for anyone. I don’t want to see people be aseptic. I want to see people in the military, or people in general be able to have civil discussion about things they disagree on. We are always going to disagree. We are all very different. Being able to have that conversation is the most important thing. Don’t avoid the conversation. Try to have it or try to learn how to have it.
    SGT Rogerson: If you could meet any woman living or dead, who would you want to meet?
    LTC Lonis: Amelia Earhart. I would love to just find her plane.
    SGT Rogerson: What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
    LTC Lonis: Don’t drink so much.
    SGT Rogerson: Do you feel that you have achieved what you wanted to, and is there more to come?
    LTC Lonis: Yes and yes.
    SGT Rogerson: How can women develop a long term career plan and who could they get advice from?
    LTC Lonis: Developing a long term career plan again has to do with your own personal goals. A lot of times people think that your career has to be perfectly suited to your heart. A lot of times that’s not true. If you’re waiting tables to try to get through school, or join the army to finish school because you know you have this end goal, you might not put that much energy into doing that. Being good at whatever you are doing I think is very important, but again, knowing your goals, knowing yourself,
    knowing where you are going and putting that path as the important thing in your life is what is most important.



    Date Taken: 03.29.2020
    Date Posted: 03.29.2020 06:54
    Story ID: 366117
    Location: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US 
    Hometown: SYRACUSE, NY, US

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