From Soldier to full-time mother

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan Zeski
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Being a military spouse and raising two children is no easy task. But, for an Army veteran ... nothing is out of reach.

(Retired) Sgt. Jolene Raciborski and her husband Tech. Sgt. Tony Raciborski recently arrived at Fairchild with their two children Kelty and Abbigail. Tech. Sgt. Raciborski is the survival, evasion, resistance and escape Charlie flight chief with the 22nd Training Squadron.

(R) Sgt. Raciborski served in the Army from 2004 to 2012 as a military police Soldier and is now an Air Force spouse and a full-time mother.

But unlike many other military spouses, Jolene is a Wounded Warrior.

During her eight years as active duty, Raciborski was with the 630th Military Company in Stuttgart, Germany, the 148th Military Police Detachment at Fort Carson, Colo., and the 59th Military Police Company at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

From June 2006 to September 2007, Raciborski was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.

During this 15-month deployment, Raciborski and her platoon lived and operated in extreme conditions.

"We lived in a very hostile area with a harsh environment," said Raciborski. "There was no running water, no chow halls and no showers ... we had to shower with bottles of water."

The company's mission was Police Transition Team Operations in the Adhamiya district of Eastern Baghdad. This included being responsible for 14 Iraqi police stations, numerous Iraqi and national police checkpoints and at times acting as a quick reaction force.

During her deployment, Raciborski was required to travel on a daily basis from the combat outpost to several Iraqi police stations to conduct training and mentorship operations. She was exposed on a daily basis to improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire, indirect fire and in several cases where she was under direct fire. She had to witness several deaths of her peers, Soldiers from other units and local Iraqi civilians.

Raciborski was awarded an Army Commendation Medal, a medal given to those who distinguish themselves by heroism, meritorious achievements and service. She was also awarded the Combat Action Badge for being personally engaged by and engaging the enemy.

(R) Sgt. Raciborski is a Wounded Warrior 100 percent service connected.

"The Wounded Warrior Project has helped me with the transition to civilian life," she said. "They keep me involved with other wounded warriors and activities."

Jolene's primary focus now is spending time with her family. She keeps busy with her daughter who attends gymnastics and is set to start pre-school this year. She is also an active member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and the enlisted spouses club.

"You get complacent when you have a routine, there's always someone around and you're never alone. Raciborski added. "It takes time getting used to being out of the uniform as a stay at home mom, the Army is all I know. After my service in the military, and the camaraderie I witnessed, I realized you don't have to be blood to be family."