Hometown: Snow Camp, N.C.
Marital status: married to a Soldier; they have two sons
Unit: Dental Activity Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis
Place of duty: Mosier Dental Clinic located on the Ordnance Campus
Time in service: six years
Military Occupational Specialty: 68E – dental specialist. According to the Army’s MOS website, www.goarmy.com, Soldiers training in this MOS receive specialized training needed to assist Army dentists in the examination and treatment of servicemembers’ teeth. On the job, they help dentists prepare for operations by selecting and arranging instruments and by taking the patient’s dental impressions and X-rays. Additionally, they manage the dental offices and patient records, perform preventive cleanings, take the patient’s blood pressure, pulse and help administer anesthesia when needed.
Background: Alexandre is from a small town in Alamance County, N.C. She grew up in a large but close family. The middle of seven children, Alexandre did not want to go to college or pursue the traditional route of moving to nearby Burlington and working a minimum wage job.
Reason for joining the Army: “I joined because, at the time, I didn’t want to go to school. I’m from a small town so I just wanted to get out and experience something different …. I’m the only one of my siblings who ever wanted to join the military. In the 10th grade, I had made up my mind. When I told my daddy I was going to join, he got upset. I remember I needed a signed parent consent form to start the process. It sat on my daddy’s desk for about a month. I said, ‘Well, daddy, if you don’t sign, I’m going to join when I’m 18 anyway.’ My daddy was not going to sign that form. When I did it, my family was pretty upset. They all cried. Since then, they’ve gotten used to it. The fact that I’m only two hours away has helped. They’ve come to visit on several occasions.”
Was joining the Army a career opportunity? “Not at first, but since I’ve had kids, I thought maybe I should try to make it work out.”
The factors you considered when choosing your military occupational specialty? “In dentistry, you get the satisfaction of helping people. I’ve learned many people have never seen a dentist because they can’t afford it. When they come here and get their teeth fixed, it makes them feel good. You feel good as well because you did something to make them smile and feel good about themselves.”
Talk about the challenges of being in a dual military household: “One of the challenges is child care. If one of us needs to attend training outside of Fort Lee, it leaves the other alone with the kids. My husband once had a mission that lasted three months. I was by myself for that time. Honestly, you need a reliable third person just in case you need help.”
Greatest challenge as a Soldier: “Managing my stress. Before I go home, I sit in my car maybe 10 minutes and get rid of all the stress before I walk in the door to become mommy and wife. I would rather give everyone my best rather than share my stress.”
Most memorable event in uniform: “I would say when I became noncommissioned officer in charge as a specialist. It was an eye-opener. I realized I had to do more. I was joyful they thought I could handle it, that they had confidence in me.”
How the Army has helped you to develop as an individual: “I would say it has given me my voice. I used to be very, very shy, so the Army has brought my personality out more. I love public speaking now, but there was a time when I wouldn’t say anything to anybody. Now, I don’t mind talking to people or making friends. The Army has helped me become more of a leader and help me find my voice.”
Talk about your career plans: “I’m still on the edge about staying. I’ll have to reenlist again next year if I want to stay longer.”
What would make you stay? “My husband’s MOS limits him to certain locations. If anything, I wish he could be stationed anywhere I am assigned.”
-- compiled by T. Anthony Bell