It's no surprise Rebecca Thornton decided to pursue a career with the Army. She spent her first 16 years traveling around the world with her father, an Army first sergeant who retired after serving his country for 20 years. Thornton has worked at the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command on Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, for the last 16 years.
After her father completed a one-year stint in Vietnam, he settled the family on Fort Meade, Maryland, where Thornton was born two years after her older brother. Shortly after, the family moved to Augsburg, Germany, where her younger sister was born. After spending several years in Germany, the family returned briefly to the U.S. before returning to Germany for another tour of duty—this time in Bamberg.
From Germany, the family returned to the Edgewood, Maryland, area where Thornton's dad worked at the Edgewood Arsenal near APG in Harford County. When Thornton's father retired five years later, she was a sophomore at Edgewood High School and Maryland had become her family's home. Thornton graduated in 1992 and decided not to pursue college. Instead, she stayed in Maryland to be close to her parents and two siblings.
Thornton later married, and she and her husband, Pete, moved to Monkton, where they have lived for 13 years. Located in Baltimore County, it's only 35 minutes from her parents' home in Abingdon. Every Sunday, the family gets together for brunch, a long-standing tradition. A close-knit family, she was taught from day one that family is everything.
After graduating high school, Thornton spent the next 11 years working for Gap, Inc. at its Atlantic Distribution Center in Edgewood. She started as a statistician tracking employee's performance and work productivity to provide insights on areas where improvements could be made. She later worked as a methods analyst until the distribution center relocated to Fishkill, New York, in 2003. As a methods analyst, Thornton evaluated the company's efficiencies and made recommendations on how to simplify and/or improve its processes and operations.
Thornton is currently a program analyst in the Operations Division of the Operations and Plans Directorate, or G3, a position she's held since 2020. In 2006, she started her career as a Department of the Army civilian at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center as a secretary in the Warfighters Directorate's Applied Science Test Division. Her father was already working at ATC as a logistics contractor. His satisfaction with the organization influenced her decision to work there as well. Her father worked at ATC for 13 years until he retired for a second time in 2001.
As a G3 program analyst, Thornton is responsible for tracking developmental and operational tests and evaluation reports from cradle to grave with ATEC's decision support system, a central database used by ATEC's subordinate test centers to enter, track, and edit all test events. In addition to managing ADSS, Thornton is also responsible for providing ADSS training to ATEC's nine subordinate organizations.
Although Thornton has never served active duty in the Army as her dad did, her commitment to the Army and its mission is no less significant. She initially followed her dad to ATC, one of ATEC’s subordinate organizations, before moving on to work directly for ATEC at its headquarters building on APG. Thornton believes in the value of ATEC’s vital operational and developmental test missions, and she enjoys making a difference in the lives of warfighters all over the world. She doesn’t see herself going anywhere, anytime soon and can’t think of a better place or better way to serve her country.