Born and raised in Hartford Connecticut, U.S. Army Spc. Maranjelliz Colon, a heavy duty motor vehicle operator assigned to Hotel Forward Support Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (3-1 ABCT) operationally controlled by the 1st Infantry Division (1 ID), made her decision to enlist in the Army after everything started shutting down during the 2020 pandemic.

“2020 COVID had just hit, everything’s closed, I had no job or anything,” said Colon. “I wasn’t able to do anything besides stay in the house 24/7, I needed to get out and do something different.”

After serving for two years, Colon is starting to see more opportunities becoming available to her.

“I want to go back to college, get my nursing degree and work in a hospital,” said Colon. “If that doesn’t work, I can always fall back onto my commercial driver’s license to find a truck driving job.”

Since her enlistment in 2020, she has been given a multitude of opportunities to gain valuable experiences toward her future.

“Being a heavy duty motor vehicle operator you learn to drive long hours,” said Colon. “This helps prepare me for long hours in a hospital or continue to drive for long hours.”

Whether becoming a nurse or continuing as a truck driver, one of the most essential things is creating good relationships along the way.

“I have been able to create good friendships since joining the Army,” said Colon. “I never thought that some of the people I would be with could become family.”

The ability to travel and serve a purpose is something that Colon did not think she would do. By joining the Army, it opened many doors of opportunity.

“I wanted to get out and do something after everything started shutting down,” said Colon. “I never thought that I would be stationed in the European theater to help deter and defend.”

Experiences, whether overseas or at home, help an individual to grow and adapt. But outstanding leadership helps to guide one’s career and future.

“This is my second unit in a short time,” said Colon. “But the leadership here has helped me understand my value, my worth, and that I can accomplish my goals.”


This piece is written by Sgt. Gavin Ching from the 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (Hawaii). Want to feature your story? Reach out to us at [email protected]