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News | April 12, 2022

Vermont Soldier describes career path as 'a good unexpected'

By Joshua Cohen Vermont National Guard Public Affairs

For U.S. Army Sgt. Avah Eaton joining the Vermont Army National Guard brought many unexpected results. Among them, included applying for and accepting an offer to serve full-time in a human resources capacity with 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain).

Recently returning from a deployment to Southwest Asia, Eaton reenlisted when offered the Active Guard Reserve position.

“I reenlisted overseas because I got the full-time AGR position, I had one year left on my current enlistment and needed at least three for the AGR job, so I just committed to a six-year contract knowing it was going to be a career,” Eaton said.

While deployed, Eaton initially served as the Mountain Battalion’s paralegal.

“The deployment helped me prepare for the HR position and really showed me what being a paralegal on deployment was like,” said Eaton. “So, when we had to train the next unit replacing us, I felt well informed on doing that handover.”

The deployment helped Eaton prepare for her new position in other ways.

“I was the Battalion paralegal during the deployment, that was my actual position, but I did more,” said Eaton. “I worked both paralegal and human resources on the deployment; I also learned how to process awards for the HR set.”

Eaton said the deployment was also a professional learning experience.

“I ended up being the senior E-5 non-commissioned officer in my section, so I was able to help guide newer sergeants and junior-enlisted Soldiers, it helped prepare me for my new job.”

The HR field is not new to Eaton, after Advanced Individual Training, her first assignment was as an HR technician at the Joint Forces Headquarters medical section.

“Within a few months of doing that I became the medical board admin on Active-Duty Operational Support status as a paralegal, I did that for two years,” Eaton said.

Eaton will soon attend HR reclassification school in Fort Knox, Kentucky and she has some positive thoughts about the future of her military career.

“My overall goal is to become a warrant officer in the HR or legal admin field within four or five years, what happened since I joined the National Guard was unexpected, but it was a good unexpected,” said Eaton. “It has taken a good turn I am very happy with where it’s going, I should have joined sooner.”

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