By Shawn Nesaw, PEO IEW&S PA Specialist – May 12, 2023
Mom’s impact us all in special ways which includes our career choices. This year, in celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re highlighting two teammates at Program Executive Office Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S) whose mom’s helped shape not only the women they would become but the careers they would have. To all the moms who have helped shape the people we are today, Happy Mother’s Day.
Lt. Col. Courtney Gary, Product Manager for Data and Analytics
My mom, Tech. Sgt. (Ret) Yvonne Murphy, served as a medical lab technician for 20 years (night shift, 3 days on, 2 days off) in the Air Force. Growing up in a small town and the oldest of a big family, she was determined to see the world that she had only seen in her school textbooks as a child. When the time came, she walked into the Air Force recruiting office and enlisted.
As the first woman in her family to serve in the military, it was a big deal for those around her, but she always saw her service as a way to help others, a means to job security and an opportunity to see what the world had in store for her.
My mom inspired me to also serve my country and influenced my career path. I majored in biology and then sports medicine in college, two health related fields I found interesting due to my mom’s work as a medical lab technician. I figured my mom’s work was in the healthcare space, so mine would be to, to some degree. The Army had other plans for me, however. I entered military services as a Logistician, learning the intricacies of vehicle maintenance. Over the course of my military service, I realized the vast number of opportunities the military provides, and I found my way to acquisition. I’ve served for 21 years this August and I’ve been with PEO IEW&S for close to three years.
My service in the Army echoes much of my mother’s mindset and I’m grateful to her each and every day.
Lydia Wickenheiser, Project Manager Intel Systems and Analytics Test & Quality Division Chief
My mother, Margaret Mattern, worked on Aberdeen Proving Ground as a Civilian Employee supporting the U.S. Army Aberdeen Proving Ground Civilian Personnel Office and later the Information Services Division as an information office automation assistant. As a little girl, I had somewhat of an understanding of the Army and the importance to serve your country. I recall a few take-your-daughter-to-work days where I would come to APG with my mom and drive past places like the Ordinance Center, in awe of how big their playground was. Turned out the playground I saw was actually the Soldier’s obstacle course.
My mom’s decision to serve did impact me. Knowing she worked on Post supporting the military made an impression on me. In high school, I took advantage of internship programs at the Army Test Center (ATC) for several summers which helped deepen my convictions of the career I wanted to pursue. These experiences, along with time spent carpooling with my mom to and from APG during those summers, shaped my path.
In 2009, my mom retired from Civilian Service, and I started as a Civilian Employee. Having a driving “why” factor gives us purpose. For me, my “why” is helping the Warfigther on the battlefield. The knowledge of being able to help – protecting someone who’s putting their life on the line – you’re preventing them from getting hurt or killed. Being in this PEO, the fact we’re getting intel and supplying that to our warfighter is critical for me.