I’ve lost track of how many interviews I’ve done since starting with Joseph Dembowski from the R.O.T.C. I think it’s a good thing I don’t know how many I’ve done, it shows me how many military members are willing to share their stories with me and all of you. This particular interview is one of my personal favorites, you will find out why when you read about SFC Frost. Enjoy!
Sergeant First Class Kimberly Frost
United States Army
Fourteen years in the service and the rank of E7, Kimberly Frost has definitely demonstrated in all the time she has served how accomplished you can be in the military. Her reason for joining is touching and her story is eye-opening to what the military does.
Why did you decide to join the US Army?
I was 21 and already married with 2 kids. My husband got laid off from work and there weren’t any benefits for the kids. Being that I was young and having my first 2 kids, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I was approached about joining the Army and I knew the benefits and income would help provide for my kids. Then, of course, there was the benefits of college and a solid career for me.
Where have you been stationed?
Basic Training – Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
Job Training – Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Fort Benning, Georgia
Fort Richardson, Alaska
Came on Recruiting duty:
Present: Westminster, CO
What will be your next station after here?
We typically won’t know until 6 months out but in about 1 year I will find out. I am trying to go somewhere south to get a little more warm-weather experiences. I’m shooting for either Texas or Arizona.
How do you feel while you are in the military? (Successful, lonely, etc…)
At the beginning you kind of have the fear of the unknown, you don’t know what to expect. I was 21, so I wasn’t quite as young as some. It was still kind of nerve-racking not knowing what to expect. But as I got used to it and went places, meeting new people along the way, it became exciting. I feel very successful. I’ve earned the rank of E7 in 14 years, which is about the timeframe that it takes to acquire it. I’m 6 classes away from earning my bachelor’s degree as well. I definitely feel like I’ve grown so much as a person as well, especially with recruiting. Before I wouldn’t converse very much with people I was kind of easy-going in most cases. Since joining, I’ve been brought out of my “shell” more.
What has it been like while you’ve been serving? (Rough, thrilling, etc…)
More thrilling than rough. Life itself can be rough at times. I don’t look at being in the Army and having a civilian career any different. Any job is going to have many challenges and it’s just how you attack them to make it a better situation for you.
What was training like for you?
Very exciting. The first couple days were nerve-racking. My kids were 2 ½ and 1 when I left to basic training, so of course, being a mom, it was sad. I missed them for the first couple weeks, but once I got into the routine it became really just like any other day. It was really exciting, I liked it. I met a lot of people, a lot of the females I went to basic with I still talk to today.
You enlisted, what was your experience like with that process?
Not too complicated. Sometimes I get test anxiety, so you just have that anxiety of actually taking the written test. The medical and physical part of it wasn’t hard either. I did sports in high school so doing the physical test wasn’t too hard.
What is your job in the Army?
I enlisted as a Dental Assistant, did that for 8 years then came on recruiting. As of 2014 I became a permanent recruiter.
Do you feel like you’ve built good friendships while serving?
Yes, absolutely! I actually have more friends in the Army than I do outside of the Army. I just came back from my senior leader course and there’s 32 of us that attended that training. So I made 31 additional new friends. Social media definitely helps keep us in contact too.
What does your family think of you being in the military?
At first, my mom didn’t like it, I’m the only daughter so she thought I was crazy. My dad was in the National Guard so she was familiar with the Army concept, but she was very nervous about me joining. After that, it’s like, “I’m doing it. It’s done.” She just loves it, she comes everywhere I go. It’s a reason for her to travel. My mom was always scared to fly but once I got stationed in Alaska, she visited 3 times. She likes it though, she’s the first one to jump on it, “Oh! My daughter is a soldier.”
I have 4 kids, but 2 of them I obviously had them before I joined so they’ve been through the whole ordeal with me. The other 2 were born after I joined. They have mixed feelings about it, they like to travel but at the same time they’re getting older where, “Hey, are we done yet?”
Were there any moments you’ve been afraid?
It really was just the fear of the unknown. I’ve never deployed, so I’ve never had that kind of fear. It was just not knowing what I was going into and I had to just be optimistic about it.
Do you feel like your career in the military is a successful and fulfilling one?
Any stories you’d like to share?
So when I was in Alaska, I just got there and being that I was dental so being in the medical field. They had a trip, “Artic Care”, and it was a joint force trip, so there was the Navy, Air Force, and the Army. We went down to the islands in south Alaska and treated the natives. They get free medical, dental, and veterinarian care. So that was really cool, we went in April and flew to Kodiak, took Alaska Air down to Kodiak and then took a Coast Guard helicopter to the islands. You’d think the weather is good, but in Alaska, it’s even snowier. We actually got stuck on the island a couple extra days because the helicopter couldn’t fly in. That was quite an experience.
What do you see yourself doing after the military?
It’s a “toss-up”, it’s going to be weird not working every day. So when I retire, we get the retirement check, so I don’t really have to have a job when I get out. If I just do the 20 years I’ll be 42, so plenty of time to start another career. But at the same time I think, my youngest will be a freshman and my 3rd will be a senior in high school. So I’m kind of tossed up about either being a stay-at-home mom and enjoying their last few years of school or if I’m going to drive myself crazy and have to get a part-time job just so I can do something.
The final two questions below gives the interviewee the opportunity to share their voice in the issue “Connecting & Protecting” is addressing.
Do you feel like there is a disconnection between the military and the general public?
Yes. A lot of times when the war actually started. A lot of people would believe what the media puts out and the media over exaggerates a lot of things. Some people go off of experiences and a lot of those people like to express their bad experiences instead of the good ones. So I think people look more at the negative aspects opposed to the positive. Positives being a full-time job, guaranteed pay, guaranteed medical benefits, guaranteed educational benefits, and on top of all of that, you’re serving your country. The good things you get for serving your country I think is overlooked over we go to war, you could die, and stuff like that. I think the general public focuses more on that than they do the positive.
Do you have any ideas on how this issue could be resolved?
Just with the general public not being so one-sided and be more open minded. I think if they opened their eyes to all the things that the military has to offer, no matter the branch. Then, of course, us being recruiters get out there and share our stories and experiences more, the positive side of things. That way more people can hear it.