Faces From the Front for May 3, 2010 - Spc. Ann Marie Loera
Current Unit: 812th Quartermaster Company
Current Position: Training NCO
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Kingsville, Texas
Years of Service: 1.5
Almost two years ago Spc. Ann Marie Loera, a mother of four and a grandmother, decided to join the Army at the age of 38.
“I finally decided to join the Army to fulfill a personal goal that I had set before I was married and had my children,” Loera explained. “I felt as if I was the only one left that needed to fulfill a family tradition. My father and siblings joined before I made my decision to serve in the Army and they were my biggest influence in making the decision.”
Now, Loera is serving as a training assistant in Baghdad, where she is responsible for assisting the training non-commissioned officer (NCO) with scheduling and facilitating educational classes for their Soldiers. These courses range from combat lifesaver courses, where the Soldiers learn first responder medical training, to driving classes and leadership education.
“I assist with ensuring that our Soldiers get the best training possible out of the Army,” Loera said.
Loera knows that her work is important for her fellow Soldiers.
“The training benefits the Soldiers by preparing them for any mission, enhancing their leadership skills and helping them with future promotion advancements.”
While Loera's job revolves around educating her fellow Soldiers, she counts the mentorship and training she's received during her deployment as one of her best experiences in Iraq.
“My most rewarding deployment experience would be the fact that I have learned new skills from one of my greatest NCO leaders, Staff. Sgt. Whidbee,” Loera said. “He has shown me how to sharpen my skills and how a true NCO leader leads the way.”
Moving forward, Loera will use the skills she's learned from Whidbee as she progresses toward serving as an NCO and leading her own Soldiers.
Loera, who is slated to return home this fall, looks forward to spending time with her family.
“The most difficult thing about being separated from my children has been missing important family milestones,” Loera explained. “When I return from my deployment I plan on doing the simplest thing for my babies, making a home cooked meal with fresh handmade tortillas and having a long conversation about everything at the dinner table.”
But until her return in November, Loera knows her children are in good hands.
“My 20-year-old daughter is taking care of my children and grandchild back home as I do my duty for the U.S. Army,” Loera said. “My daughter stepping into my shoes and taking care of her siblings has meant more to me than can be imagined. She has shown her loyalty to our family by holding down the home front while I am gone.”