This report originally published at defense.gov.
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah —
Serving in the military provides the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself, and to be a positive influence, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Caroline Ballad said.
Ballad is a reservist currently serving on active duty as a recruiter here at the Navy Talent Acquisition Group Rocky Mountain Utah Division.
The daughter of Polish refugee parents, Ballad was born in Orleans, France. She and her family immigrated to Canada, where her father found work, which eventually brought her the United States at age 11. Ballad spoke only French and Polish at the time, and her world revolved totally around her family. But that was about to change.
‘I Always Wanted to be Part of the Military’
“I always wanted to be part of the military,” Ballad said. “As a young person, my reasons were simple. The recruitment posters and the uniformed members who visited my school fascinated me. While in France, I wasn’t particularly patriotic, but in my teen years, living in Texas, I fell in love with the United States.”
Ballad’s love for America continued after she left Texas.
“I later relocated to Salt Lake City, but my plans to join the Navy were on hold since I was now expecting my first child,” Ballad said. “As soon as my son was born and I was back on my feet, I visited the local Navy recruiting office. My recruiter was a great role model, and I wanted to be like him. He suggested that I go [on] active duty but, honestly, I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into, so I decided to join the Naval Reserve. I like both physical and mental challenges, and when the Seabees were offered, I jumped at the opportunity to become a construction electrician.”
Ballad took on assignments and earned awards along the way, but she wanted more. That brought her to CANREC, which is the recruiter recall program. This program is for Navy reservists who accept active duty orders as a production recruiter and execute the Navy recruiting mission. It is a full-time job that comes with the benefits of active duty.
“I did not want to let my chief down, so I worked as hard as I could to exceed all expectations,” Ballad said. “The Navy has been there for me through my highest highs and lowest lows, and it has always been there to watch my back. I work daily to be able to provide that same support to other people as well.”
Ballad, who previously served as a construction electrician, has spent more than half of her nearly five years of Navy service in recruiting, where she earned promotions to petty officer second and first class.
Prior to Navy Recruiting District Denver’s command reorganization to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Rocky Mountain, Ballad rose to become her station’s leading petty officer.
‘What I Like is the Challenge’
“What I like is the challenge. Challenge makes life thrilling. I have no doubt that I will influence many aspiring leaders and that a future Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy will be among my recruits,” Ballad said.
Ballad said she tells future sailors about Navy traditions, its organization and its inherent camaraderie.
“What I find so rewarding about Navy recruiting is the ability to enrich an individual or a family’s life,” Ballad said.
The Navy’s recruiting force totals over 6,100 personnel in more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the globe. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to ensure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.
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