By Mr. Pat Adelmann, Milwaukee Recruiting BattalionApril 17, 2013
PERU, Ill. (April 17, 2013) -- If you asked Elisabeth Rath six months ago if she ever thought about joining the military she would have said, "I have all the respect in the world for those who do serve, but it just wasn't for me." But when her husband Kelly decided it was time to put a uniform on again, things began to change.
In May 2012 Kelly left the Marines after serving four years when he found out that he would not be able to reenlist because there were no vacancies for a motor specialist. He went back to Streator, Ill.; and in January 2013 married the girl he had known since they were 11 years old.
"It took a combat tour to get me to have the nerve to ask her out the first time," Kelly said. The Raths lived a normal life. Elisabeth attended college and Kelly worked as a grounds keeper at a local high school. But, less than a year after leaving the Marines, Kelly found himself missing the camaraderie he felt while wearing the uniform.
"I was driving myself up a wall. I was bored being a civilian," he said. "I had thought of myself as a lifer when I joined the Marines."
The only logical thing to do in Kelly's mind was to reenlist. He decided the best approach would be to enlist in the Army Reserve. He never thought Elisabeth would enlist, but as he shared his reasons for wanting to reenlist, she became interested in serving.
"It was never really my idea to join," said Elisabeth. "But from Kelly talking about his time in the Marines and how much pride he has, especially with his brotherhood, it just kind of encouraged me."
The two reached out to Staff Sgt. Kyle Emmer at the Peru Recruiting Center.
"It was actually kind of funny because Kelly wanted to join the Army Reserve and Elisabeth wanted to be an Officer Candidate for the Air Force," said Emmer. "I showed her how she can achieve her goals as in officer in the [Army] Reserve. We processed her paperwork for the Army Reserve [OCS] but she didn't meet the current qualifications. So I explained the benefits of coming in enlisted and how she can reach her goals of becoming an officer later in her career."
On April 11, 2013 the couple enlisted. Just like in January, they started the next step of their lives together as Soldiers in the Army Reserve. Elisabeth will train as a transportation management coordinator and Kelly will continue to serve as a motor transport operator. Kelly is happy knowing he will once again put on a uniform and serve.
"Just being in the Reserve right now is good. I am sure sooner or later I will want to go Active Guard Reserve just so that we can stay around where family is and I can still wear the uniform every day," Kelly said.
If you ask Elisabeth now what her plans are for the Army and why she joined she'll tell you "to become a better leader and to gain more responsibility to be able to take care of my family when we start to have kids."