Spc. Lenica Lomeli monitors radio traffic as a passenger on a Chinook helicopter during a reconnaissance flight in August 2019 while on assignment in South Korea.

Unit: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Army Logistics University Support Battalion

Military occupational specialty: 56M, religious affairs specialist

Hometown: Anaheim, Calif.

Age: 28

Time in service: two years

Duties:  Religious affairs specialists provide much-needed support to the chaplains during missions and everyday activities, according to the website

Personality strengths: “I’m very positive, upbeat and responsible.”

Personality weaknesses: “People say I’m too nice.”

Pastimes: “I like to paint with acrylics, and I love to travel. I like finding new places to visit.”

Worst fear: “Losing a family member.”

Favorite book: “‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’ It is just how personal her story is. It gives us another perspective on what was going on in World War II.”

One person you admire: “My mom because she’s a fighter, and she overcame the challenges of being a single mother with five kids. She held two jobs almost her whole life, always fed us and kept clothes on our backs. She never gave up on anything she did. I got a lot of my strength from watching her.”

The celebrity or historical figure you would like to meet: “I would want to meet (Dr.) Martin Luther King – just because of how he thought and how he helped people. It would be a privilege to meet him.”

If you could do anything anywhere right now, what and where would that be? “I would love to be back home in California barbecuing with family.”

Something no one would guess about you: “I used to be really overweight … people thought I was pregnant (laugh)!”

What you believe in: “I believe in doing whatever makes you happy, within the law, and not following society.”

When you have been most satisfied: “When I graduated advanced individual training. It was a happy time because I really didn’t think I was going to make it. Nobody thought I was going to make it. Like I said, I was overweight, didn’t exercise and had never been away from home. I was older, too. It was such an accomplishment. I was the first one in my family to join the Army and actually graduate at that level.”

One life-changing event: “Joining the Army changed my life. I can travel all over the world (Lomeli was stationed in South Korea and visited Thailand) and see countries I would’ve never seen, meet people (from all walks of life) and better my education.”

Talk about your upbringing: “Like I said, my mom was single. We moved a lot. I’ve lived in Las Vegas and all over Southern California. My mother was pretty strict. I couldn’t have a boyfriend until I was 18. I was busy with school, had to bring home good grades and my mom made us clean a lot to keep us busy and out of the streets. She emigrated from Mexico, but she has a green card and is in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. I’m the only one of my siblings who was born here. ”

Why you joined the Army: “One, I wanted to lose the weight. I needed the discipline to run and exercise. Two, it has been a dream of mine since I was 18 years old. I didn’t join at 18 because I had a health issue. It’s funny … I had just graduated from college and got an email from a recruiter. I don’ know how he got my email. I was sitting in the parking lot, and thought this must be a sign from God or something. ‘Should I?” I thought, but I left that dream long ago. I did email him back and started the process. A lot of people did not want me to join, but I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to think, ‘What if?’ 10 years down the road.”

Why you chose your MOS: “I talked to my recruiter and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to work on my bachelor’s degree so I need an office job or something not too crazy.’ I told him a little about myself and this (religious affairs specialist) is what he recommended. It’s a very flexible MOS. We travel a lot and get to meet a lot of people.”

Your on-the-job challenges: “The briefings – I had to brief 300 sergeants today, and it’s hard. Some people fear public speaking, and I’m one of them.”

What it means to wear the uniform: “To me, it means I’m representing our country.”

Best thing about the Army: “The fact they move you every three years or so. I mean, they move all your stuff, and you get to live in a place and explore it for a few years, and then they move you again – for free. You get to know the world because of the Army.”

Worst thing about the Army: “The facilities for single Soldiers are so unequal to those for married Soldiers. … The barracks feel like a prison. The rooms are dark, gloomy and outdated. They’re not nice.”

Where you see yourself in five years: “I see myself purchasing a home, settling down – married with two kids – having a bachelor’s degree, working somewhere in criminology and being in the (U.S. Army) Reserve.”