When Sgt. Jailine Ramos watched her local news station broadcast the devastation of Hurricane Maria in September 2017, she found inspiration in the work of the National Guard units that responded to aide in rescue and recovery missions.
For Ramos, not only was it a call to action, but a way to cross a very specific item off her bucket list. It was already full of things that would push her out of her comfort zone mentally and physically, so she added joining the Army.
“I finally decided when Hurricane Maria happened in Puerto Rico. That is where my family is from,” said Ramos, an air traffic controller with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. “I saw the National Guard being deployed over there. I was like, ‘I can’t help people from here behind this desk. In this office, I can’t help anyone, and I want to be out there.’ Helping people, that is my true calling.”
Ramos, a Greenfield, Massachusetts native, spoke with her supervisor, a retired Army lieutenant colonel for advice on how to follow that calling. He told her to really think about her options and choose a job she could take with her into the civilian world after military service, she explained.
Ramos heeded the advice of her supervisor and found a job that interested her — an Army pilot — but was unable to qualify for it because of her vision. She considered becoming an Army cyber operations specialist but turned it down to be an air traffic controller.
“Since Ramos has gotten here, she has been super passionate about her job,” said Staff Sgt. Rictavious Prosser, an air traffic control specialist with Headquarters and Headquarter Company, U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys. “She helps with training. As a training supervisor, I have 22 other people I have to train, so she is a great asset to me. Her work ethic is 110% every day she comes in, not to mention she just made the commandant’s list at BLC.”
Ramos said she absolutely loves being part of the training program and teaching the civilians and Soldiers who come through the program. Being a trainer gives her a chance to motivate someone else to be the best air traffic controller they can be.
Her shifts rotate between three morning shifts a week and three nightshifts. This gives Ramos a chance to travel on her days off to enjoy the attractions on the peninsula.
“I’ve gotten to travel and experience a lot of the culture,” said Ramos. “I’ve been here for two years, so I’ve seen quite a bit. The food is amazing.”
Ramos chuckled a little as she reminisced about one trip she took with the Soldiers from Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers.
“I went to a ski trip that they had in Vivaldi Resort. The first time I went down the slope it took me thirty minutes, and I was falling and falling and falling,” she said. “I would sit down and watch people who were snowboarding, and I was like, ‘let me get up and do what they’re doing.’ So, the last time I went down the slope it took me five minutes, and I was really proud.”
Ramos’ quest to help those in need has led her away from her family, but she’s still in good spirits. Reflecting on her experiences in the Land of the Morning Calm, she has advice for other Soldiers who find themselves far from home and family.
“I have my mom and two younger sisters. I’m the oldest. My little sister just had a baby, and we FaceTime like every day,” said Ramos. “For new Soldiers, I would definitely encourage them to go out and explore the country. It’s beautiful. Do the BOSS program. It’s hard when all you do is work and go to your room. Depression hits when you isolate yourself from the world. I would definitely encourage them to go out, even if it’s by yourself.”
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Article and feature image by Sgt. Courtney L. Davis, U.S. Army Garrison Public Affairs Office