FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Idaho Army National Guard Soldiers Second Lieutenant (2LT) Zane Bundy and his big brother, Sergeant (SGT) Nathan Bundy, take after their father, Matt Bundy, in a number of ways.
All three work for the Mountain Home School District. Matt and Nathan both teach at Mountain Home High School, and Zane is a substitute teacher who hopes to have his own classroom someday. In addition, all three either have or are currently serving in the military.
Matt retired from the U.S. Air Force. Nathan and Zane both serve in the Army National Guard’s 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team’s 2nd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, headquartered in Caldwell. For the next couple of weeks, both are attending a training at Fort Irwin, Calif.
“I was raised on the idea of serving my country,” says Nathan, who enlisted into the Idaho Army National Guard in 2012 as a 35F Intelligence Analyst.
Nathan is the intelligence section’s senior noncommissioned officer. His team’s job is to help analyze intel Soldiers in the combined arms battalion collect and to help his battalion commander make good decisions on the battlefield.
It’s a position that’s vastly different than Zane’s job, who leads a platoon in Idaho’s only infantry company from his Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
“Serving together gives us a new dynamic in our relationship,” Nathan says. “It’s a new common ground and a shared experience, but we’re also on different sides of the Guard as an enlisted intel Soldier and an infantry officer.”
“I saw how great of an opportunity Nate had to be in the Guard, so I thought I would follow,” says Zane.
At his commissioning ceremony, Nathan was the first to salute his younger brother of four years.
“I was really proud of him when he commissioned,” Nathan recalls.
Zane says he doesn’t get to see much of his brother during unit operations, but that it’s always good to see him when their paths cross. Both agree that serving in the Army National Guard provides them with experiences they don’t get to have in the classroom as teachers.
“I enjoy both jobs,” Nathan boasts. “Being able to serve part-time is a great experience.”
The 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team is completing a month-long rotation at the National Training Center to build unit readiness and increase Solider proficiency in its wartime missions. The unit will train against a near-peer opposing force provided by the Army’s 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. More than 4,000 Guard Soldiers from more than 30 States are participating in the exercise.
The Army National Guard gives you the opportunity to pursue a civilian career while serving part-time in your home State, so your family is always close by! With positions in more than 130 career fields including armor and field artillery, intelligence, and aviation, you can find your perfect fit. Check out the job board for more information on available careers, and contact a local recruiter to learn more.
From an original article by CPT Robert Taylor, Idaho National Guard, which appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil in June 2019.
FRANKFORT, Ky. – In late March of 2018, Natalie Wamsley was finishing up Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS), maxing her last Army Physical Fitness Test, and taking another successful step in her 16-year military career. On April 6th, she found out she had cancer.
While at WOCS, she felt a lump, but disregarded it as muscle soreness from the intense physical fitness. A couple weeks after she returned home and many sleepless nights, she went to her doctor. After an ultrasound and a biopsy, her doctor called her in for an appointment.
“I knew immediately what that meant,” she says. “All they would tell me was I had cancer; not how bad, how big, nothing like that. When you don’t know facts, your mind tends to spin out of control.”
What Natalie did know was how torturous the week was before speaking with a surgeon. She was told she had an aggressive form of cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and that it had developed three months prior.
“I thought, ‘I am too young for this. I have a lot more life to live. I have a husband and two very small children. I have a lot to live for. But he said I was curable, so I continued to stay positive.’”
Thanks to recent developments in science, doctors said she had a fighting chance. And fight she did.
Natalie enlisted in the Army National Guard while she was still in high school in 2003. She joined because of her grandfather’s military service and her involvement in Junior ROTC. She comes from a long line of veterans but was the first woman in her family to join. She served as a 42A Human Resource Specialist at the company and brigade level, including a deployment to Iraq in 2011.
When she took a job at the State’s personnel office, she was mentored by Chief Warrant Officer Larry Arnett, who told her she would make a great warrant officer. She already knew about warrant officers because her husband, Ronald Wamsley, is one and serves as a network engineer with the State information and technology office.
“She was already looked upon as an expert in her field,” he says. “She has excellent PT scores and shows good leadership skills.”
Natalie says that mentorship and the desire to be a better version of herself drove her to the warrant officer path.
“I hope that I can be a role model for my children one day and show them they can do anything if they work hard and have the right people to guide them.”
That aggressive nature runs through Natalie in all she does. Less than two weeks after learning she had cancer, she started a high dose of chemotherapy. After six rounds, the doctors were not satisfied and began a more intense regimen – eight more rounds, followed by surgery.
“I was told I had a ‘stubborn’ cancer, and the surgery didn’t get it all, so they decided on more rounds of chemo.”
There were good days and bad, many laughs and cries. Mentally she remained strong, but physically, it was a different story. Days when she couldn’t pick her children up broke her heart, but not her determination.
“I was so scared I would lose her,” her husband recalls. “But we focused on one thing at a time. She made things so much easier by being so resilient. She would apologize to me because she was too sick to help with the kids, but I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, I got this.’ When she lost her hair, it didn’t even phase her. She still went to work and didn’t even cover up her hair loss. She always maintained a positive attitude.”
She was then prescribed radiation therapy, which she currently receives five days a week – all while preparing to be commissioned as a warrant officer.
“I was unsure how my appointment would go. I kept telling myself, if it is not my time, it’s not my time. There will be other opportunities. But working out throughout my treatments helped my spirit, along with the strength and love of my husband, children, and my Guard family.”
Natalie came off chemotherapy in January and took her fitness test in order to commission. She passed, impressing herself with her score. She was commissioned in March in front of a large crowd of friends and colleagues, all inspired by the woman standing in front of them.
She was pinned by her husband who said he had never been prouder of Natalie. Together the Wamsleys are the only warrant officer husband-wife pair in the Kentucky Army National Guard. Both remain so grateful for the support they both have received from their Guard family.
When you ask those friends, Guardsmen, and civilians to describe Natalie, you get “hero,” “fighter,” and “inspiration.” Her husband calls her a beast for her consistently solid PT scores. She doesn’t see or think of herself as a hero at all, saying “Everyone has their battles, this is just part of my fight and my story.”
Lieutenant Colonel Travis Carpenter, Deputy Director of Personnel for the Kentucky National Guard, says a hero is someone who you wish to emulate and someone who has attributes you wish you had, like superpowers.
“Everyone has their idea of a hero,” he says. “[Natalie] Wamsley is a personal hero of mine. She not only succeeded in a time of adversity, she excelled in a time that others may not.”
Natalie recalls her mantra during treatment: “Your illness does not define you, your strength and courage does. Everyone has their own fight, it’s how you come out of it. I hope that I am a better person going through this, and I hope through my story I can encourage someone to fight because this life is worth living.”
Natalie’s Guard family has played an important role in helping her overcome defeat. If you’re looking for a strong bond, a lifetime of adventure, and a place to call home, consider joining the Army National Guard. With more than 130 career opportunities in fields like aviation, engineering, and armor and field artillery, you can find your fit and reap the benefits of part-time service close to home. To learn more about how you can make a difference in your community and country, contact a local recruiter today!
From an original article by SFC Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard, which appeared in the news section of NationalGuard.mil in April 2019.