An Army spouse living in Baumholder, who works for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, has a big decision to make: Who will salute her first — her husband or her mother?
Taylor Wright, lead lifeguard at the Baumholder Military Community Aquatics Center, will soon become an Army second lieutenant after a direct commission into the Army Medical Service Corps through the Army Master of Social Work Program.
“A former supervisor spoke to me about his experiences as a social worker in the Air Force,” Wright explained. “After that conversation, I went straight over to the Army recruiter and said, ‘What can you do for me as a social work student,’ and he said he had a great program for a social worker in the Army.”
Her current supervisor at the aquatics center, Barton Newton, has no doubt Taylor will excel in the program and become an asset to the Army.
“I think she will do fantastic in the program. She is a mature and driven employee and is successful in anything she sets her mind to,” Newton said. “I know she has worked very hard to get into this program and I am sure she will be nothing short of fantastic.”
The Army MSW Program is a 14-month course through the University of Kentucky consisting of 60 semester hours, followed by a 26-month Social Work Internship Program. All while wearing an Army uniform.
The program is very competitive. Only 25 applicants a year are chosen. Wright doesn’t take that lightly.
“Mr. [Jim] Bradford and Mrs. [Ingrid} Osewalt allowed me to tell them about the program and what I wanted to do. They really listened and I really appreciated that. When you’re applying to something so competitive, you need all the help you can get.”
Osewalt, USAG RP Family and MWR deputy director, met Wright while they were working hard together to get the aquatics center ready to re-open last year.
“I was impressed by her curiosity and interest in wanting to understand the reasons behind certain facility-related health, safety and fire prevention measures and her enthusiasm for MWR in general,” Osewalt said.
Wright said the program was not even on her radar when her husband received orders to Baumholder. She came to Germany a nursing student with an associate degree, thinking she would earn a bachelor’s degree “in whatever I wanted to earn it in.”
“I randomly changed my degree to social work,” she laughed. “Social work found me and I think it found me for a reason.”
Wright graduates with her bachelor’s degree in May.
She said other spouses can accomplish what she did. It just takes a little effort.
“It took me a year and a half. No semesters off,” she remembered. “Fall, spring, summer, full time, all the time.”
Wright’s husband is a specialist with no college experience. She said he has been very supportive, even though he hasn’t taken any college courses yet.
“He says, ‘You’re working so hard, you’re doing so good, look at you go’ and I say, ‘I just finished typing a paper,’ and he said, ‘That’s amazing,’” she laughed.
Wright will head to Fort Sill, Okla., for the Army Medical Department Direct Commission Course in August. After the DCC, she will head to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for Basic Officer Leadership School before her one-year MSW course, followed by a two-year internship. After the internship, she will have a master’s degree and be a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, all paid for by the Army.
One would think her husband would be the celebrated first salute she will receive as a newly minted lieutenant. But, Wright said, “Um, about that…”
“My mother is a former Army officer,” she whispered. “So, he has some competition. I’m glad I have some time to think about that.”
According to the Army Recruiting Command website https://recruiting.army.mil/MRB_MedicalServices/, the MSW program is open to civilians, officers and enlisted personnel requesting to become Active Duty Medical Service Corps Army officers so they may pursue the MSW via the Army MSW Program.
“This made me realize again what great potential so many of our MWR employees have and that it’s up to us leaders to tap into it by making lots of concerted efforts to really get to know our employees. Had I not had the opportunity to get to know Taylor on the level that I did because of our joint project, she would not have approached me and asked for a letter of recommendation,” Osewalt concluded.