LCDR Jayne Faul: I was stationed in Jacksonville, FL, Corpus Christi, TX, and Washington DC
Why did you choose to serve?
I wanted to fly, plain and simple. Most non-military people are surprised that I chose the Navy and not the Air Force, but the Navy also has a lot of aircraft and our bases are on the coasts:) My Granddad was a pilot in WWII, my Grandma was a WASP in WWII, and my dad was an aircrew man in the Vietnam War so I had seen some pictures and had heard a little about their experiences. I always looked up to them but truth be told, I honestly had very little idea what I was getting into, I really didn’t know much about the military before college but it absolutely turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. I was commissioned through the NROTC program at Purdue and it was there I learned the basics of the military- customs/traditions, rank and rate structure, and the core values. Purdue has a pretty big ROTC program and there were SO many awesome people who were part of it that I had grown to respect and be proud to stand with. I still wanted to fly but I enjoyed my years in ROTC so much that if that didn’t work out, I still wanted to be part of the camaraderie and the patriotism. Luckily, I got my pilot spot and got to have it both ways!
When you think of your service, what most comes to mind? The people and the opportunities! The people in the military are amazing!! So many different backgrounds all with one shared goal- to volunteer their service to our country. As I mentioned, the camaraderie in the military is, in my opinion, unparalleled and it just felt like I was always surrounded by the best people in the world, most of whom were constantly challenging themselves and those around them to do better and to be better. The experiences I had I couldn’t have even dreamt of- the countries we visited, the missions we flew, the decisions we made. I was 26 years old when I qualified as aircraft commander which meant I was in charge of a multi-million dollar aircraft and the safety of the 12 crew members on our 8-12 hour missions. Thinking back, the amount of trust and responsibility that was afforded to me (& others) at such a young age is mind blowing. Having that opportunity, and so many others, gave me confidence in myself and taught me so much about leadership and trusting those who ranked above me and below me.
How has your service impacted your view of America? I have such pride in our country. I always was proud to be an American but it has grown immensely since my time in the Navy. You see so many different types of people working together to accomplish goals that often seem out of reach. You play a part of huge moments in the news and our history. So many countries don’t allow their women to serve or hold any respect for them and, while the US is not perfect, I am damn proud that we not only allow women to succeed, we celebrate it. I don’t know many veterans that don’t get choked up when they hear our National Anthem, it’s a deeply proud and humbling feeling to have been part of our service that has shaped our country.
What do you want your fellow Americans to know about Veterans Day? That we are grateful we are that the United States has dedicated an entire day to those who have served. The United States is one of the most supportive countries of its military and veterans and it’s truly humbling. While my experience was incredibly positive, not all veterans experienced the same. Being part of the military comes with so many sacrifices and some walk away with physical and/or emotional scars that they carry with them forever. Veteran’s Day, to me, is a day to reconnect with old friends and memories. When someone thanks us for our service, I often feel a little tongue-tied in my response, but I am always thankful for that verbal support and acknowledgement. Most of the veterans I know don’t seek recognition and are incredibly modest but knowing that the American people have our back is huge.
There is a phrase in the Navy and Marine Corps called ‘Semper Gumby’ which just means to stay flexible. Things change in the military CONSTANTLY and you can never get too comfortable. If one day you think you’re moving to one job for 3 years, the next you might be moving overseas for 2 years with or without your family. That’s just how it is. I don’t literally think of that phrase but the concept is always in the back of my mind. Now being a mom to 2 little boys, during a time of pandemic, and swinging politics by day you just never know what is next and, somehow, I find some comfort in that 🙂 If you don’t like one day, there is a good chance the next will be completely different!