Navy ensign given unique opportunity to work as Army officer
August 17, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - When Ensign Lauren Karlewicz commissioned after completing the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program in upstate New York, she envisioned a much different start to her career than what has transpired.
Instead of diving right into a submarine, the Greenwich, N.Y., native has hopped into a Humvee to experience four months of serving as an officer in the Army. Karlewicz said the unique duty has not only given her an appreciation of what it means to be a Soldier, but it has also reunited her with her husband--1st Lt. Adam Karlewicz, executive officer for Company D, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Third Infantry Division, at Fort Stewart, Ga.--after the two have been separated by more than 900 miles since he graduated and commissioned from Army ROTC program at the same institute.
When asked how she came to work for the Army, Karlewicz maintains she is still as surprised about the post as she was when Lt. Col. Justin Hadley, commander of 6th Sqdrn., 8th Cav. Regt., approved her and her husband's request to give her an active duty job to tide her over until she reports to the Navy's Nuclear Power School in Charleston, S.C., in October.
The ensign said while Navy and the Army life share basic similarities--missions require Sailors and Soldiers alike to spend a lot of time with a set group of people eating the same food and spending time away from Family--the focus of each of the services is drastically different.
"It has been quite the dramatic change from Navy life," Karlewicz said. "It's a completely different culture--being out in the field versus being in a contained environment."
Karlewicz said her focus in the Navy will be maintaining nuclear reactors and piloting submarines whereas the roles she's seen Army officers work in are more focused on knowing their people, keeping their people safe and trained.
The ensign said because she has been assigned to work with the "Mustang's" public affairs representative, she has had several opportunities to visit training sites and has spent more than a few nights out in the field.
"I think the max was four days that I was out there, but it was still pretty rough for me," Karlewicz said. "There [have been] challenges, but I'm really glad I ended up doing it."
When she isn't training, Karlewicz said she is enjoying living with her husband, whom she married in March. She said she and her husband spend a lot of time being active outdoors and walking around downtown Savannah, Ga.
Karlewicz said she is excited to return to Navy life and the cooking offered aboard submarines but will always be appreciative of her stint with the Army.
"I think I'll miss it when I leave," Karlewicz said. "It'll be nice this next month and a half to cherish my Army moments, despite the spiders and the heat and the field work."