Shortly after the Vietnam War a civilian acquired skills program recruited people from all career paths and walks of life.
Rebecca Richardson was a full time legal secretary, when she started looking for something part time.
She said she ended up giving up one weekend a month and two weeks a year, in the Army Reserves, but says she gained a second family.
“I worked for an attorney who basically said, ‘Oh I have a deal for you’ why don’t you join the Army Reserves,” Rebecca Richardson said.
So that’s exactly what Richardson did.
“I thought I could do that, that’s short term, I’m not obligating myself to anything for the next 20 years,” Richardson said.
She originally signed on for three years.
“Then I just fell in love with it and stayed for 37 years,” Richardson said.
She said she was motivated by the fact that she was doing something good for her country.
“I really enjoyed knowing that when I went to work, put on the uniform, and got to work it had a lot of meaning,” Richardson said.
It didn’t take her any time to climb in rank.
“I like being able to put on stripes and be called sergeant and then you would get rewards, and it was just the recognition for what I was doing, made me feel like what I was doing made a difference,” Richardson said.
Her advancement was not just good for her career, but for women in general.
She went on to become the first female First Sergeant of the 89th Regional Readiness Command in Wichita.
“That kind of opened up some ground work for other females to get into some of these leadership positions,” Richardson said.
She said all along it was about being prepared.
“We were getting ready to do our job, we weren’t smoking and joking,” Richardson said.
She said they took their training very seriously, just in case deployments happened.
“We would have been prepared, and ready to step up to that, had that happened,” Richardson said.
She said over the years those you serve with become more like family, and that’s why she wouldn’t trade those three years, that turned into nearly four decades for the world.
Richardson said the alumni of the 89th still get together about four times a year, so they can keep up with each other.