Alabamian with fear of flying soars at AMCOM; performs ‘at the tip of the spear’
Alabamian Rebecca Ragan has been with the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command since 2008 and is now a program analyst in AMCOM G-8 Resource Management Acquisition Integration Branch. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

When she accepted a position at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, after graduating from University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, the military installation wasn’t unknown to Rebecca Ragan.

“My dad served in the ‘70s as a military policeman here on Redstone Arsenal,” said Ragan, a program analyst at U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command G-8 Resource Management Acquisition Integration Branch.

An Alabamian through and through, Ragan grew up in Fosters – just about 15 minutes from Tuscaloosa – but now calls the Hartselle/Decatur area home.

Since she lived in a college town where retail jobs abounded, Ragan thought that was where she’d end up.

“I always knew I wanted to do something more, so I graduated high school a semester early and I put myself through college,” she said. “I started at community college going to nursing school because I wanted to help people.”

As it turned out, nursing wasn’t for her. “I’m a little more squeamish than I thought,” Ragan said.

Helping people would have to take another form.

“In my final semester of college one of my professors highly recommended going to the university’s career fair, where I met several people from AMCOM. They explained a lot about what AMCOM did and the opportunities that were available,” Ragan said.

That turned out to be a game changer.

“My first position was in the AMCOM Logistics Center as a logistics management specialist in Apache sustainment.”

Ironically, Ragan had a serious fear of flying. Fortunately for her, sustaining Apaches didn’t require her to fly in one.

“I’m naturally an inquisitive person who likes to research and figure things out as well as help people,” Ragan said.

That inquisitive nature may have been key to overcoming that fear.

“I worked with a therapist for months before that first flight,” she said. “I also had some amazing coworkers who helped me get on the plane.”

It really does take a village.

She didn’t take her first flight until after she gave birth to her first son. Now, Ragan said she loves to fly.

When she’s not overcoming a potentially life-altering phobia, Ragan can be found spending time with her husband, volunteering as room mom in her youngest son’s kindergarten class, watching her boys play basketball, reading, working on personal development, spending time with close friends or training her puppy to one day be a therapy dog in schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

“I’m actually a pretty good artist! I love to draw, color, and paint,” Ragan said. “I think that the artistic and creative side of me helps me to think outside of the box in my professional life.”

Apparently.

After completing a developmental assignment in AMCOM G-8 in 2018, Ragan decided to make a move.

“In the few months I was on the developmental, I learned so much and it really struck a fire in me to learn more about the financial side of AMCOM,” she said.

And learn she did.

In addition to all the other things Ragan does exceptionally well, she has flourished at AMCOM G-8.

“Our team performs contract reviews and analysis for all AMCOM service contracts and provides guidance for request for service contract approvals,” Ragan said. “My main goal over the past year has been to assist with leading a team of people to create a database that automates data linkage from multiple systems and create an analyst level one-stop shop to review the performance of service contracts. Each month we perform analysis on the performance, cost and contract appropriateness… Our next step is to create a leadership-level dashboard that will enable AMCOM leaders to view a comprehensive picture of contract performance for the command’s service contract portfolio.”

AMCOM G-8 Acquisition Integration Branch Chief Michael Garrett said Ragan’s knowledge of the Army acquisition functions and efforts to ensure quality service contract data for the command is noteworthy and that “she spends her days at the tip of the spear.”

“Mrs. Ragan’s high level of involvement and personal leadership creates an environment of learning, mentorship and success,” Garrett said. “She is known for taking giant steps in mentoring junior analysts, providing visual recordings to complement training material and producing quality standard operating procedures to assist external stakeholders in the acquisition process.”

Ragan said she strives daily to help those around her and find ways to make their jobs easier.

Garrett said the success in G-8 Acquisition Integration Branch’s efforts to automate data analysis – tremendous time/manpower savings – is largely due to Ragan’s devotion and insight in the problem-solving process.

“AMCOM G-8 has allowed me so many opportunities to broaden my career and training,” she said. “G-8 truly has some of the most supportive and mentoring leaders in AMCOM. I have found that as you drive toward knowledge and make an effort to improve things along the way, opportunities tend to present themselves.”

Although where she is now is nothing she’d ever imagined, Ragan said she is so thankful to be here.