Honoring faculty veterans: Ms. Alicia Allen

Ms. Alicia Allen enlisted in the Army a few years after the 9/11 attacks, when there were fewer volunteers and a high demand for recruits.  She thought it would be the branch for her because of her family’s history and she joked about being “scared of planes and boats.” Basic Training was nothing like Allen had expected; the things that were supposed to be hard, she found easy. No one was expected to meet the Army Physical Training (PT) requirements on day one. “We worked out everyday; everyone grew stronger, faster and more lean,” Allen said.

She was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for 12 years.  Allen served as a Psychological Operations Specialist. Her job was to analyze and develop information used to create a psychological effect on a particular population. On the job, she used anthropology, sociology, psychology, geography, history, political science, economics, and mathematics, along with marketing.  She was also Airborne, which means that she jumped out of airplanes and helicopters with her unit.

During her service, Allen supported several operations, including Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Odyssey Dawn, Unified Protector, and Juniper Shield. She also supported Exercise FLINTLOCK in 2013 and 2015. These operations brought her to Iraq, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Senegal, and Chad, and provided support to other countries such as Germany, Italy, Kuwait, and Qatar.  In addition to these operations, Ms. Allen said, “One of my most meaningful experiences was getting the chance to reenlist a soldier, because this is normally a task only commissioned officers can do.”

Allen served as a Specialist for 3 years, a Sergeant for 4 years, and a Staff Sergeant for 5 years.  Her last job in the Army was serving as the Operations Sergeant for her company. “I was afforded the ever elusive stability I had been craving after a decade of operational time,” Allen said of the role. It allowed her to start a Girl Scout troop with another soldier, which made her realize that she was ready to make a change. She left the service at the end of her third enlistment to pursue teaching as a career through the education program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and currently teaches Integrated Science.