In a family circle where military service appears a consistent and enduring theme, Rebecca Segovia has managed to emerge from the shadows and carve her own unique and distinguished career path.
"Both of my sisters retired from the military with 23 years of service, and my father and several uncles served," Segovia said. "Now 27 years later, I'm almost 51 and I look back at a my own career with a sense of awe - I never envisioned staying in."
A native of the Kansas City area, Segovia first joined the Missouri National Guard in 1980, while attending the Kansas City Art Institute.
However, she was divorced with a daughter and informed she could not remain in the military as a single parent.
In 1986, after she remarried, her sister recruited her back into the Missouri National Guard to serve with the 135th Field Hospital.
She completed her initial training at Fort Jackson, and traveled to Fort Sam Houston to become qualified as a combat medic. The unit she was attached to later transitioned to a MASH unit, which required that she reclassify as an operating room technician.
"The training was about 10 weeks long and introduced us to the basic surgeries performed by doctors, and what instruments were used during those procedures," she said.
The school was followed by three months of on-the-job training at Munson Hospital at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Segovia then returned to her unit and was approached by the executive officer about becoming an officer.
"He convinced me to take a test for officer candidates ... and the next thing I know, I was attending OCS (officer candidate school)," she said.
Graduating from OCS in 1990, Segovia was commissioned the following year as a Medical Service Corps officer with the 135th MASH unit.
The newly-pinned officer remained with the unit through several transitions as a part-time soldier, but in 2000 was hired on full time with the Guard as an administrative officer with the 205th Area Support Medical Battalion.
She later took command of the headquarters support company of the 205th, and deployed to Fort Riley, Kan., in early 2003 as part of a new endeavor called the CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives).
"It was a new mission the Army was trying out," Segovia said. "They wanted a rapid response force trained in case of another 9/11 incident."
Finishing the deployment in June the same year, she went on to serve as executive officer for the 205th until being transferred to state headquarters in Jefferson City. There she became the deputy state surgeon - a position in which she helped ensure the individual medical readiness for more than 9,500 soldiers.
Following a brief assignment overseeing a public affairs program, Segovia deployed with 1,100 fellow Missouri Guardsmen to Kosovo serving as the deputy brigade surgeon. During the deployment she helped oversee medical readiness, and provide training to various commands in the process for documenting line of duty reports for injuries and illnesses of soldiers.
Returning in early 2009, she was appointed to the full-time position of director for the State Partnership Program and now helps facilitate subject matter expert exchanges with the Republic of Panama as part of a partnership program dating back to 1996.
In October 2010, she was appointed to the part-time position as commander of the 229th Multifunctional Medical Battalion - becoming their first female commander.
Though once hidden in the long shadows cast by many family members serving in the armed forces, Segovia has managed to rise to the rank of lieutenant colonel and carve out her own unique set of career experiences.
"It's been a wonderful career," she said. "Although there have been some hard times, but then that's life."
Resting her chin on her palm and pondering an extensive career, the veteran grants some insight regarding her military background and professional accomplishments.
"In the military you're held accountable for several aspects of personal conduct - responsibilities as basic as keeping your height and weight in check. And more importantly, the responsibility to constantly self-assess to ensure you are living up to the Army values.
"In the end, these type of responsibilities tends to bring out the best in a person and prepares you to succeed as a leader."
Jeremy P. Amick is the public affairs officer for the Silver Star Families of America.