By Wanda Boulware,
Special to the AFRO
It is said time and time again that it is an honor to serve in the U.S. military and while that may be true being a soldier has so much more to offer. Retired Technical Sergeant Bridgette Gilmore Threat gives us a glimpse of what being an officer was for her.
Sgt. Threat’s story began when she enlisted in March 1988, seeking an opportunity for training as well as the ability to pay for college.
“Since I was the seventh child of a single dad, after my mother passed, I felt that the military would offer more resources for future endeavors,” she said.
She joined the army as a supply specialist which led her to serve in Germany shipping supplies to Saudi Arbia, during the first gulf war. Serving in the army for twelve years. Sgt. Threat found the army to be full of opportunity but as a young mother she struggled with her family.
“I was forced to assign guardianship of my son to my grandparents, due to prolonged training and the possibility of deployment without advanced notice, and I felt the loss of not being able to spend more time with my son.”
She retired in 2001 and got married. In 2007, she enlisted in the Air Force.
“I had always wanted to join the air force for the experience plus I believed Air force personnel were treated better.”
Her position in the Air Force was air crew flight equipment journeyman. She was assigned to maintain the life support equipment on the KC135 aircraft, while serving on a base in Turkey.
Overall, Sgt. Threat said her time in the military was filled with great opportunities in travel, work opportunities and eventually education. She was able to attain a master’s degree in social work as well as a master’s in Christian Ministries. Her time as a soldier allowed her to achieve a dream she knew would have been more difficult outside of her time in the military. She had to endure many obstacles as well.
Sgt.Threat served in the Air Force until September 2020, when she became disillusioned with the country’s leadership, more specifically, the commander in chief at the time. Due to his instability and other physical constraints, she believed the time had come for her service to end. But she said, although the prospect of retirement was exciting, it offered some trepidation as well. Retirement forced her to have to redefine her life.
“Being an enlisted soldier plays a major role in a person’s everyday life, and when that time ends, finding oneself again can be quite a journey,” she said. “I was elated to retire yet scared, not knowing what was next.” She had so identified with the uniform, and now had to redefine her life after 30 years in the military. Her son, Demetrius Deck, followed in her footsteps and is currently a member of the Maryland Air Guard.
“What I learned in the military is that preparation is key, but one should always be prepared to shift.”