Emely Wilson of Anderson surprised everyone when she enlisted in the Army, but it turned out to be a natural fit for her.
Wilson was born and raised in Lanagan, a daughter of Ray and Elma Mitchell. She graduated from McDonald County High School in 2001 and went to Crowder College. She joined the Army in 2003.
"My parents were scared. Everyone was surprised because I was really into art and theater in high school. I wasn't really that kind of girl," she said. "My nickname in high school was Some Hippie Chick because I was all peace and love and art and theater. Everyone was surprised."
She said her father was not really all that worried, because he did not think she would succeed.
"He thought I'd be back in a couple weeks. That was my fuel any time things got hard. I had to prove Dad wrong," she said.
"I went in expecting the worst because my brother made me watch 'Full Metal Jacket.' My brother was in the Army as well and he did not enjoy his time. I took to it like a fish to water," she said.
She noted she enjoyed the physical training, the camaraderie and also, "I'm a little OCD, so I passed every inspection."
Wilson became a chaplain's assistant and was sent to South Korea. She was assigned to a signal unit, which provides communications. Her job was to provide religious support to the unit.
"My chapel in Korea hadn't passed brigade inspection in 10 years," she said. "I passed, with all commendables. I got a brigade coin for it."
She also earned an Army Commendation Medal in Korea.
In Korea, each unit sponsors a Korean orphanage, Wilson said. Her unit did an angel tree and provided shoes, clothes and toys for the children.
"It was such a blessing to provide the orphans with shoes and clothes and toys and love. They really needed it," she said.
After serving in Korea, Wilson was sent to Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where she was with a garrison unit and provided religious support for the entire installation at the main post chapel. She took part in conducting funerals, church services and special events.
She earned another Army Commendation Medal while in Arizona.
Her unit sponsored a Christmas giving tree for soldiers' children at Fort Huachuca.
After her first two years in the Army, she enlisted for two more. However, she hurt her hip, and doctors said there was nothing they could do to fix it. They told her if she did not stop, she would be in a wheelchair by age 30. She was medically discharged from the Army after two and a half years of service.
"I would have made a career of it if my body would have let me. But everything happens for a reason," she said. "It was a very good experience. I enjoyed being in the Army."
Wilson went to college while in the Army. In Korea, she went to the University of Maryland-Asia; and in Arizona, she went to Cochise College. When she came home, she finished up at Crowder College. She has an associate's degree in biology.
In 2012, she married Justin Wilson, and they live on his family's farm. She works part-time at the McDonald County Living Center as the activities assistant, and on her days off she cares for her husband's grandfather. She is the finance officer for the American Legion Post 392 in Pineville.General News on 12/06/2018
Print Headline: Wilson Surprised Family, Friends By Joining Army