Today I salute Lance Corporal Kelsey Van Horn, who happens to be from my neck of the woods in Montana. I am always proud to present young adults like Van Horn. She has assumed great responsibilities as a young adult, enlisting in the Marines right out High School. Van Horn is currently stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA.
What are your duties?
My MOS is Special Intelligence Communication Specialist and I work with communications equipment such as radios, antennas, and networking. Monitor communications, gathering info, in addition to assisting and supporting Teams outside the wire.
What do you like most about serving?
What I like most about serving is the camaraderie it builds amongst peers. We always work as a team. No matter how bad a situation may seem, it’s always nice to have a good friend next you experiencing the same thing. I have made some of the best friends while serving, and they’re the kind of friends that last forever, no matter where we end up in life.
What prompted you to serve?
This has always been a hard question for me to answer. There is not one specific reason I wanted to join. I love this country and what it stands for, and I liked the idea of protecting the Constitution and the ideals this country was built on. In some way, I guess, I also wanted to uphold my father’s legacy of serving the government in uniform as he was a Newport Beach Police Officer.
What is some of the greatest challenges you faced?
I guess you could say we are faced with challenged everyday, both physical and mental. It’s hard to pick out one thing. We are constantly thrown into completely unfamiliar situations and expected to know how to handle them. It can get chaotic and stressful, but problems are always resolved. Great learning experiences come from the hardest challenges. Being away from family is also hard, especially when we are put in situations where we aren’t able to contact that for a couple weeks.
What was the most rewarding experience?
Personally, I enjoy teaching others how to be proficient in our job field and learning from my superiors. It’s rewarding being able to pass on knowledge and experiences to others, while from them at the same time. Everyone has something to offer. It’s also rewarding knowing that I am able to support myself completely, without depending on anyone else.
What was the training and prep for your MOS?
I enlisted and went to basic at Parris Island, North Carolina for 13 weeks. Then I did Marine Combat Training in North Carolina at Camp Geiger went to school for 6 months training in my MOS at Corry Station Pensacola, Florida before going to fleet. However, the most valuable training I’ve had has been on the job training with trial and error.
How does serving affect your family?
I’m sure it’s hardest for my mom. I don’t get to call her or see her as often as she’s used to, and I’m sure she’s not a fan of when I can’t call for weeks at a time. My family is always telling me they’re worried about me and they miss me. I do what I can to make it home over the holidays, but it doesn’t always work out.
Do you plan on making a career of your service?
I still have a couple years left on my contract, I haven’t decided if I’m going to re-enlist or move on with something else. I change my mind about it every day. There are so many opportunities to consider both in and outside the service, so it is not a decision I am taking lightly. I guess I’ll see when the time is closer.
What is your advice to someone thinking about serving their country?
I would advise to make sure it really is what he/she wants to do before making a decision. Don’t just join on a whim at the last minute because you think you have nowhere left to go in life. I think it’s a great decision, as long as he/she understands the commitment involved, and the stress it will have on the family. I will admit, there are definitely times I wish I was a civilian again, but in the end, the good cancels out the bad. It’s not a decision to take lightly. There’s a lot of duties and responsibilities that come along with joining the military.
THANK YOU LANCE CORPORAL KELSEY VAN HORN FOR YOUR SERVICE!