Americas_Military-SGT_Gatlin.jpg

Unit: 508th Transportation Company, 266th Quartermaster Battalion

Hometown: Smithfield, N.C.

Age: 28

Time in service: five years

Military occupational specialty: 92Y, unit supply specialist. According to www.goarmy.com, a unit supply specialist is primarily responsible for supervising or performing tasks involving the general upkeep and maintenance of Army supplies and equipment. Among the Soldier’s duties are receiving, inspecting, inventorying, load/unloading, storing, issuing and delivering supplies and equipment to include small arms.

Personality strengths: “I’m a very kind, caring individual.”

Personality weaknesses: “I’m not very social, and sometimes I don’t think about what I say before saying it.”

Pastimes: “I mostly spend time with my kids. We love shopping and eating ice cream.” 

Talk about your upbringing: “I was in the rough neighborhood of Smithfield. My mom was into drugs really bad, so I wound up moving in with my (older) brother when I was in the eighth grade. He was in the Navy at the time and stationed in Newport News. I went to Woodside High School. There, I was in a magnet program.  I was actually a ballet dancer. After that, we moved to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and I graduated high school there. I had planned to attend Norfolk State University, but I didn’t have the money.”

Worst fear: “I don’t want to fail for my kids because I feel like my mom failed me. I want to be the best person I can for my children.”

Pet peeve: “I don’t like messiness. I’m very clean. I don’t like clutter, dirt, etc.”

If you won the lottery … “The first thing I’d do is buy a house – that’s my main goal right now; making sure me and my girls are squared away.”

What’s on your playlist: “Kevin Gates; Tamia; Gerald Levert – I hated him at first, but I find myself going back to listen; Aaliyah; Cardi B; and Maroon 5. I listen to country as well, but I can’t name the artists.”

What would surprise people about you: “A lot of people are surprised to know I have two kids, and nobody would guess I’m 28. They think I’m about 21.”

If you could do anything, anywhere at this very moment, what and where would that be? “I would travel out of the state and return to Hawaii.”

One person you admire: “My grandmother. She was a strong individual and was heavy into church. My grandmother worked as a domestic for a long time. When the family matriarch passed away, she still took care of her son until he was about 40. Whenever my mom was going through her troubles, my grandmother would always come to get me, and she wasn’t even supposed to be driving at night.”

Motivation(s) to be the best Soldier possible: “My kids. They’re like, ‘My mom is a Soldier, and I want to be like my mom.’ Also, there’s one Soldier here who – she just became a single mom – comes into my office all the time and tells me, ‘Sgt. Gatlin, I look up to you because you’re a single mom and you don’t look stressed.’ That brought tears to my eyes because it made me feel like a role model. I can’t give up for Soldiers or for my kids.”

Something that flipped your world upside down: “The Army.  My ex (husband) would be like, ‘Don’t join the Army – it’s this; it’s that; it’s bad for you’ – but once he left, I felt like it was the right choice for me and my kids. Once I joined, I know I changed. Before, I was a passive person; I let people tell me what to do. I’m stronger, much stronger. The Army has awakened me to who I am as an individual.”

Did the Army fulfill your initial expectations? “Yes. I have a roof over my head to support my children; they are in school and receive daycare; and I’m not struggling. I don’t have to beg anyone for anything.”

Factors in choosing your military occupational specialty: “I had 92Y and 92A (automated logistical specialist) to choose from. The recruiters said, ‘Well, do you want to be in a warehouse or an office?’ I said, ‘Office (laugh).’”   

What you like about your current job: “It’s not a very demanding job, but you work directly for the commander. I feel like I have an important role as a (92) yankee.”

What you do not like about the job: “The time demands. You’re mission essential, so you’re always on the clock, even during the pandemic. I’m always here.”

Best thing about the Army: “For the most part, the Army is a family that takes care of people.” 

Worst thing: “Toxic leaders. Those who take advantage of subordinates.”

Where you see yourself in five years: “I want to be a chief warrant officer. That’s my main goal. I also want a buy house and finish my degree in supply chain management.”