Working from Home
How one Sailor serves her country from her hometown
The author Thomas Wolfe wrote that you can't go home again, meaning home is a fixed place in time ... a memory, an ideal.
For Blair, home is Grand Junction, Colo., a city of approximately 58,000 people on the Colorado Western Slope.
"It's not so big that it's annoying," she said. "It's not like Denver where there's all kinds of people, but it's not so small that you don't have a movie theater."
Set against the backdrop of a picturesque landscape of cliffs and limestone mesas, Grand Junction is a paradise for anyone who loves wide open spaces and the outdoorsman's lifestyle, but it's about as far away from any ocean as a Sailor could possibly be.
Blair grew up in Junction, (as the locals call it,) graduated from high school there and briefly went to college, but like many 19 year olds she wanted to experience more than her hometown could offer. She wanted to travel and to experience new, exciting things. That's what ultimately led her to see Junction's Navy recruiter, and in 2007 she found herself bound for Naval Station Great Lakes to become a Sailor.
After recruit training and A-school to learn her aviation machinist's mate rating, Blair was assigned to VAQ-137 "the Rooks," an EA-6B Prowler squadron at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash. She deployed with the squadron aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) in 2011 supporting combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as conducting anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.
As her tour with the squadron came to a close, Blair had a choice to make - leave the Navy or find a way get shore duty as close to Junction as possible.
"It was recruiting in Denver or I was getting out," she said. "I had just done the ship thing and it was kind of rough."
With the help of her master chief, she was able to get recruiting duty not just in Denver, but at Navy Recruiting Station Grand Junction. As one of three Sailors at the station, (not to mention one of three Sailors in the whole town,) she's found that her hometown roots have been a tremendous benefit in finding future Sailors.
"I came back and almost all my teachers are the same. My orchestra teacher is the same. My principal is still the same, nothing's really changed," Blair said. "So it was easy to come back and show kids how much more there is [to life] than this little town, as opposed to just staying here and going to college and getting a job."