JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — As she held a photo of her mom, Sgt. Deavyn Hurd — U.S. Army South secretary of general staff noncommissioned officer — reminisced about her life; her nine years of service in the U.S. Army and her family’s legacy of military service.
“If I hadn’t joined, I would probably be stuck working dead-end jobs, partying and not living to my full potential,” said Hurd. “I wouldn’t have my family and I definitely wouldn’t be pushing myself as hard as I am now.”
Hurd’s choice to serve falls in line with her family’s spectrum of enlisted military service across four branches. Her father, retired Master Sgt. Wayne Bosley Jr., served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 21 years; her mother, retired Chief Petty Officer Gloria Jemison, in the U.S. Navy for 23 years; her aunt, Yolanda George Love, in the Army for four years; and her sister, Staff Sgt. Alexandria Jemison, has served in the U.S. Air Force since 2015.
“The military has made my life and my family’s life better,” said Hurd. “My family who hasn’t served talks about us all the time and how they wish they would have joined.”
Hurd was born in Moreno Valley, California, where her father, who was already a Marine, met her mother on a blind date set up by mutual friends. Her parents' relationship unfortunately did not last and they ultimately parted ways.
As a result, she was separated from her older half-sister and her parents decided her life would be more stable if she moved in with her grandmother.
“Growing up, my mom was mostly overseas and my dad was all over the Pacific,” said Hurd. “So I lived with my grandmother, cousins and aunt. I shared a room on and off with my grandmother and over the years she has become my best friend.”
Hurd grew up the only girl child in a household of boys which made her resilient and a bit of a tomboy, but she said she was the black sheep of the family.
“I had to fight with the boys for everything, so I toughened up,” she said. “I also had to adapt to living with family that wasn’t my parents. I didn’t really know my mom until I was older and I kind of felt left out of my own family.”
Hurd said it was hard for her mom to not have the whole family together, but in an effort to better herself and provide for her family, her mom joined the U.S. Navy when Hurd was three years old.
“My mom is so resilient,” she said with a smile. “She started as a postal clerk on a ship and then became a military police officer. Her experiences as an MP took a toll on her but she is a tough cookie.”
Her mother’s sacrifice through service had a positive impact on Hurd’s life and that rippled to her friends.
“I was lucky because I never had to want for anything,” she said. “Even though I was away from my parents they made sure I was cared for and would send me money and presents for my birthdays and holidays. But it made me different from my friends who didn’t have as much, so I would just share everything with my friends and take them all out.”
As Hurd matured she became rebellious and as a teenager her grandmother was unable to control her. Eventually, her dad decided to move Hurd to Southern California to live with him.
“When my grandma couldn’t handle me anymore, my dad stepped in to put me in check,” she said. “The transition was rough, I mean, I went from being with people I had been with almost my whole life to having to make new friends and adjusting to living in an RV with my dad.”
Hurd finally got the full military brat experience and moved to three different high schools across Southern California in three years, but she was able to adapt due to her previous experiences and became a chameleon when it came to fitting in socially.
But as high school graduation approached, Hurd found herself aimless in the search for her future.
She took a gap year between high school and university to explore what possible careers she would ultimately pursue. All roads lead to her following her parents in military service.
“I said I was going to go to college, but I never liked school,” she said. “But watching my dad have so much fun in the Marine Corps, it was a no-brainer I was going to enlist in one of the [military] branches.”
She wanted to become a Marine, following her father’s footsteps, as she saw his military experiences as exciting. But a one-year delay in shipment caused her to explore other branches.
Ultimately, Hurd decided to join the Army with her father’s blessing and recommendation.
“My dad knew me and knew the male-dominated culture of the Marine Corps, and he thought it would be a better fit for me in the Army,” she said. “Between each of the branches my family members joined, I think we each joined the branch we were meant to be in based on our personalities.”
The challenges women face in the Marine Corps are not unique to only one branch, but Hurd sees herself as lucky given she has not experienced much hardship due to her being a woman in the Army. She believes that is because of the women who have served before her across all branches.
“Women like my mom paved the way for my generation of service members because they did the hard work to show we belonged in those roles,” she said. “Women bear children, raise them and on top of all that we are expected to perform our duties and compete with our peers at the same level. We are resilient and capable of anything and I think we have proved that over history.”
Although her father was her main inspiration for joining the Army, Hurd’s mom is a massive inspiration for her every day.
“My mom has been through therapy and learned to talk to us about what she has experienced,” Hurd said. “She has been through a lot and she has seen a lot, whether it was due to combat or having to prove herself to her male colleagues as an MP, and she made it out the other side in one piece. She’s tough as nails and I look up to her for that.”
Hurd said her reflection on nine years of service in the Army as well as the experiences of her family members hold many lessons. She believes the most important is her ability to adapt and achieve anything she puts her mind to.
“Being a military child taught me how to adapt to any situation and be a chameleon socially,” she said with a prideful grin. “Being a Soldier has taught me that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”