When I started a podcast sharing the stories of military women, I had no idea it would lead me to writing a book for girls who are considering entering military service. As an Air Force Veteran and a current military spouse, I’ve gotten a lot of experience from being part of the military community as a woman — and I’ve always tried to share that experience in a positive way with other women. Writing about the issues I’ve encountered and resources I’ve discovered and turned to is one of the ways I have embraced to do that.
But the Women of the Military podcast not only opened my eyes to the deep, rich history of military women. It also showed me the need for resources for the next generation of women who will serve — a need I wanted to fill. With hours of research through the podcast learning about different branches, career fields, ways to serve, and keeping up to date on things changing for military women, I felt that I could write a comprehensive book to help girls who are considering military service.
I started by creating a free guide and called it A Girl’s Guide to the Military. I wanted people to know it was for young women considering the military. After doing some research, I learned that high school girls — the ones who most needed this kind of information — connected to the word “girl” and not “woman”. A Girl’s Guide to the Military was born. And while I thought the information was important, I had no idea how to get the information to the girls who needed it. But girls found it and started downloading it, asking me questions, and looking for more resources. After a few conversations with those who were looking to join, I knew the guide was a good start, but there was still more work to do.
I started writing A Girl’s Guide to Military Service not realizing how hard it would be to write the book and find the right tone — or how much more I still had to learn about the military. One challenge I faced was finding the right level of information to include. If I drilled down into the details, a lot of the information wouldn’t apply to my readers and could quickly become out of date once the book was published. Instead, I had to rein in all the information I had collected and provide just the right amount of details and open the doors for the recruiters to fill in all the specifics of each girl’s unique life situation and service choice.
What I really wanted was for a girl to have the information to make an informed decision when joining. My own path to the Air Force began by looking into enlisting into the Air National Guard. A friend heard about my interest in joining the military and invited me to lunch to share about the officer program and that discussion changed my plans moving forward. While enlisting in the Air National Guard likely would have turned out fine for my career, I really was looking for a way to continue going to school and serve. The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) gave me that option. However, if my friend had not told me about it at lunch I wouldn’t have known there was another way. My recruiter had never shared other options outside of enlisting.
With A Girl’s Guide to Military Service, I tried to provide all that information in one place while also providing questions to help guide the reader to decide what is the best option for them. And while it starts with whether a girl should join the military and how to pick the right branch, it goes even deeper: looking into the different ways to serve; choosing Active Duty, National Guard, or Reserve; and the option of enlisting or becoming an officer. Then I shared all the different opportunities for a career within the military. This is information everyone needs to know when joining the military regardless of gender. And it is so important to talk about this with girls because they might not have someone to talk to who can help get all their questions answered.
The next focus of the book is preparing for the first years in the military, starting with preparing for Boot Camp, then diving into things to consider while serving in the military, such as financial responsibility, mental health, career growth, relationships, motherhood, and more.
I believe that a key to a strong transition out of the military is building a strong foundation in the beginning to ensure you have the best experience in the service throughout your career. With tools and resources to help you succeed, the better prepared you will be for the next stage of your career and life after the military, whether that’s after one four-year tour, serving twenty-plus years, or somewhere in between.
Do you know someone who could use A Girl’s Guide to Military Service? Get a copy today. A Girl’s Guide to Military Service has been recognized as an Independent Book Publishers of America (IBPA) Award winner. Gold in Teen Nonfiction and Silver in Career and Business.
Amanda is a military veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer who served on a combat deployment with the Army in Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career in the Space Force. Amanda is the host of the Women of the Military podcast. There she shares the stories of women who have served or are serving in the military. The podcast has over 200 episodes and over 100K downloads. Amanda is also an author and has published two books. Her first book, Women of the Military tells the stories of 28 military women who served in the military. Her second book, A Girl’s Guide to Military Service, is the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Winner for Teen Non Fiction. It is a guide for high school girls considering military service to help them build a strong foundation for their future career. She also works as a freelance writer and has been featured in a number of military publications including The War Horse, Military.com, Military Families Magazine, Clearance Jobs, Military Spouse Magazine, and more.