I decided to join the military when I was 12 years old. Top Gun had just shown in theatres and I was determined to become a fighter pilot. I had Amanda when I was 16 years old and I was determined to graduate on time. I stayed home my junior year for independent studies and my senior year I took classes at school during the day and at college at night. Before graduating I decided to join the Navy. I chose to give guardianship of my daughter to my parents so that she could be well taken care of while I was gone (they wouldn't allow me to join as a single parent).
I went to Boot Camp 12 June 1992. I turned 18 on 30 July while I was in Boot Camp. My CC had me do 18 push ups and said, "from me to you, body beautiful." I was told at MEPS that I was physically fit for every job in the Navy except for pilot because of my eyesight. I was quite upset. I didn't pick a particular job, though I did choose to go to AT school for Aviation instead of a certain A school. After AT school I got stationed at NAS North Island in San Diego, CA. I loved it. It had aircraft carriers and fighter jets. I wanted to get stationed on an aircraft carrier next. I was stationed at GSE (Ground Support Equipment). They sent me to work in a couple different places temporarily and I was able to work at GSE and I got designated an AS, Aviation Support Equipment Technician. We worked on NC-8's, TA-75's, jacks, tires, and lots of other things for avitation, basically mechanics. I loved it. I wanted to serve over 20 years. I got married in 1995 to a man in the Navy who was stationed on a ship. He stayed in while I decided to leave the Navy so that I could take care of my kids.
I then joined the Army National Guard as an MP (Military Police). I chose the Guard instead of active duty so that we wouldn't be deployed at the same time and to insure that at least one of us would be home with our children at all times. My husband deployed often. I missed him of course, but it was easy for me, I am a military woman I'll say. I LOVE the military!!! I never regreted when he went out to sea.
I joined the Army National Guard because I couldn't see myself not being in the military and I also really wanted to deploy to Iraq after 9/11 occured. I really felt that it was my duty to serve my country in this war.
I loved being in the Navy and the Army!! I didn't want to retire after serving 10 years. My goal was to stay in the Army for longer than 20 .
When I was at Camp Blanding (Florida) for AT, Annual Training, for 2 weeks I was in a terrible accident. On 12 May 2006, 2 men from my unit and I were on patrol, I was in the back seat of a K10 (87' Blazer) when it happened. I was told later that I wouldn't give them the keys until they buckled their seat belts. Good thing I did. I didn't have my seat belt on, I was told we couldn't find my seat belt and I found out later from other unit members that the back seat belt was stuck far under the seat. We were patrolling and I was training the guy driving when wild boar came onto the road, the driver swerved to miss them, drove off the road, hit a concrete bunker and we landed on the side of the K10. I landed in the front seat on top of the passenger. The driver had to pull me out of the Blazer through his door and I am told that I was mumbling. Their cell phones wouldn't work so they had to use mine to call the police and our unit. An ambulance came and they had to life flight me to Shands Hospital in Jacksonville. The hospital didn't think I was going to survive. I had skull fractures, facial fractures, dislocation of my ACL, my left eye is 3/4 blind, my olfactory nerves are destroyed and a large part of my brain is dead. I can not remember AT, the accident or May and June of 2006. Because of the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) that I suffered, I have a different personality. I'm not as mature as I was before, I have seizures, and I'm on medication for depression and mood swings.
I am grateful and I thank God that I survived. Because of my accident I was medically retired from the United States Army. I wish I could have retired after 20 years, but I will never regret any part of my military career and if they would let me, I would join again.
Many members of our family have been in the military, and I am proud of every one of them. I am extremely proud of my son in law who decided to join the Navy and my 11 year old son is already determined to be a Marine. I will always support our military and I thank God for the chance He gave me to serve my country.
Christy L. Birman, USA (Ret.)
My mother is an amazing woman and I am inspired by her fervor to serve and her dedication to our military. I really wanted you to hear her story in the hopes of inspiring you with her passion for the military and her will to heal and survive through an accident so devastating. She is my American hero.