RHC-P Soldier chosen for Green to Gold program

| August 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
Courtesy photo Sgt. Mayra Bendavid (back row, left) deployed to Afghanistan for nine months after joining the Army. During the deployment she was a member of a female engagement team (pictured). The opportunity to be on the team was one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences in her Army career so far. Her life's ambition is to take on missions that benefit the greater good; actions that enhance not just one person's life but also the lives of those she works with and serves alongside. (Courtesy photo)

Courtesy photo
Sgt. Mayra Bendavid (back row, left) deployed to Afghanistan for nine months after joining the Army. During the deployment, she was a member of a female engagement team (pictured).

Emily Yeh
Regional Health Command-Pacific Public Affairs

HONOLULU — Sgt. Mayra Bendavid, a combat medic assigned to Regional Health Command-Pacific (RHC-P) struck gold, recently.

She is one of the Army’s newest Green to Gold selectees.

As a Soldier and valued member of the RHC-P command team, her exposure to strategic level operations and engagements opened her eyes to a side of the Army she was not exposed to before.

Courtesy photo Sgt. Mayra Bendavid's decision to become an Army officer was influenced by various experiences throughout her life. Bendavid grew up as a first generation-American, in a single-parent home with five siblings which gave her a unique outlook on life. Bendavid, as a child, pictured with her family, was not born into privilege. At a young age she was taught the significance of hard work and that nothing of importance in life was easy. (Courtesy photo)

Courtesy photo
Bendavid grew up as a first generation American, in a single-parent home with five siblings which gave her a unique outlook on life. Bendavid, as a child, pictured with her family, was not born into privilege. At a young age she was taught the significance of hard work and that nothing of importance in life was easy.

“I feel fortunate that this past year I had the opportunity to work at the region. Getting that exposure from a command perspective and that level of leadership is invaluable,” stated Bendavid. “By being a part of the RHC-P command team, I better understand what it means to lead and inspire because I see it every day.”

When Bendavid left for basic training on Valentine’s Day in 2011, she was prepared for anything. Growing up, she was always athletic and knew she was physically fit. She knew she was mentally fit and ready as well.

“I’m usually a safe person when making decisions in my life, but joining the Army, I didn’t hesitate at all. After basic training, I was assigned to Fort Riley, in Kansas,” recalled Bendavid. “I just wanted to be a Soldier and wanted to join. I’m glad I did it. Within six months, I was deployed to Afghanistan.”

During the nine months she spent in Afghanistan, she was part of a female engagement team.

“I was part of a female engagement team, where our mission was to engage with the local female population in Afghanistan. Each company or unit selected female Soldiers to work alongside the Afghani Army and police to train females for the Afghani National Army,” said Bendavid.

“The Afghanis didn’t have any females within their ranks, or a training program in place, so we came together to design a training regime, which included Soldiering skills such as clearing a room and doing searches.”

As a combat medic, Bendavid taught first aid and first responder skills.

“The opportunity I had in Afghanistan was so rewarding, to see all the females, eager, wanting to learn. They quickly picked up on everything we taught. It is still one of the most rewarding moments in my Army career.”

This next step of becoming an officer is consistent with her experience in Afghanistan and her life’s ambition to take on missions that benefit the greater good, actions that enhance not just one person’s life, but also the lives of those she works with and serves alongside. She also knows that she will be in a position to lead and inspire others, giving other deserving Soldiers a chance to make their mark in the Army, serving their country.

“Soldiers are vital to the success and longevity of our organization. Becoming an officer allows me the privilege of guiding Soldiers every day, and also provides me the opportunity to learn, develop and lead Soldiers across any spectrum,” said Bendavid.

When the idea of joining the Army first entered Bendavid’s mind, she had no idea that her decision to enlist would take her to the places she has already been and opened the door to places she still can go.

“Growing up first generation-American, in a single-parent home with five siblings gave me a unique outlook on life. I was not born into privilege. At a young age, I was taught the significance of hard work and that nothing of importance in life was easy. Although delayed by different career paths, I stayed true to my initial aspiration of becoming a Soldier and enlisted into the Army.

“It was not until I joined the military that I found a sense of purpose and I immediately realized that I had finally found my true calling,” she added.

Bendavid’s success is due, in part, to her solid support group and encouragement from her command team.

“Brig. Gen. Bertram Providence planted a seed,” explained Bendavid. “He told me 90 percent of the job is showing up, not just physically, but understanding the impact on everyone else and the future.”

Capt. Corey Lester, former aide-de-camp to the RHC-P commanding general, and Bendavid’s mentor, was also a driving force. As a Green to Gold graduate, he was able to provide guidance as she navigated through her own process.

“As a Green to Gold graduate, I know what kind of Soldier it takes to succeed in the program,” said Lester. “After working with Sgt. Bendavid, it was obvious to me that she would be a competitive candidate. I know she will be a future leader in the Army and make an impact on the future of the military.”

Bendavid holds fast to the teachings she gained as a child, that nothing of importance comes easy. As she prepares to take on the honorable responsibility of becoming a more influential leader, she goes in with the ultimate goal of positively impacting the lives of Soldiers and the Army.

“It was not until I joined the military that I found a sense of purpose, and I immediately realized that I had finally found my true calling. I have surpassed my expectations of my career within the Army. When I first joined, I never thought I would be on the path to becoming an officer.”

Even though she is not sure where she will end up after earning her degree, she is willing to go anywhere. She knows she has a strong network of support, which is not only a big part of why she achieved gold, but she knows that network will still be there when she needs it.

“I am forever thankful for that,” she said.

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