My name is Sevrine Banks, I am an Army Veteran, retired with twenty years of service. I come from a long history of service members. I was a combat medic during my military career and had the honor of serving with amazing people.
In 2012, I was selected to serve as the First Sergeant of the only Female Engagement Team Company consisting of sixty-four women who would deploy to Southern Afghanistan to assist Combat Arms units in interacting with the women and children of Afghanistan. This was truly the most humbling experience of my life. These women overcame many obstacles in order to be assigned to combat arms units as the only women assigned to a platoon at the time.
Deployment and being in the military takes a toll on you, especially when you have children. My son was thirteen months when I deployed to Iraq, even though I Skyped and called him. When I returned, he screamed when I went to reach for him. That broke my heart. The baby I carried for ten months was afraid of me. I told myself I never wanted to do that again, however, I was too close to retirement to get out. Two years later, I was called to leave again. During my deployment to Afghanistan, I decided it was time to retire. The military was great to me and my family, but my children needed me home. It was a tough decision. I loved being a soldier, but my children only have one person to call mom; me.
We have started roots in Sacramento, CA where I work as a manager with the California Department of Health Care Services. Since leaving the military, I do miss the camaraderie and the feeling of doing something bigger than yourself. I have found that giving back to the community and helping other women veterans brings the same satisfaction.