Basic Camp

From stay-at-home mom to Charlie Cadet

Charlie Company Cadet Antoinette WIlson, student at Missouri University of Science and Technology decided to join ROTC after spending 11 years as a stay-at-home mother to three children. Photo by Peyton Hobson.

Charlie Company Cadet Antoinette Wilson, student at Drury University who does ROTC through Missouri University of Science and Technology, decided to join ROTC after spending 11 years as a stay-at-home mother to three children. Photo by Peyton Hobson.

By Matthew Langston
Leader’s Training Course

A year ago, Antoinette Wilson was a stay-at-home mother of three. She spent her days making sure her eldest kids made it to school on time, taking and picking up the youngest child from daycare and preparing dinner all before her husband got home.

Her full days left no time to pursue a college education.

But three years ago, she made time for school. Wilson didn’t simply settle for going to class. She joined ROTC.

“When she first said it, I was in disbelief like, ‘Yeah, right,’ but then she actually went forth with it,” said Taren Wilson, her husband and an Army officer. “I could actually see that she was really serious about it.”

Cadet Antoinette Wilson, a student at Drury University in Springfield, Mo., who attends ROTC at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Mo., was motivated to come to the Leader’s Training Course by her desire for a more stable future for her family.

“For me to have a career that lasted longer than just a couple of years, I chose the military,” Antoinette said.

Ready to start a new chapter in her life, Antoinette knew the transformation from staying at home to joining the Army would not be an easy one. She began getting in shape by running and training for physical training tests.

Although initially shocked by his wife’s decision, Taren quickly became impressed with the 32-year-old Cadet’s effort to drop weight and the results she was seeing. He said he had no concerns about her coming to LTC.

“I think LTC is that little minor piece that she’s missing,” Taren said. “I’ve known her for years, and she has all the characteristics and qualities to make a good officer.”

Antoinette said the biggest difference between the course and staying at home is the position of power. At home, she said she is used to being in charge of her kids, ages 11, 6 and 2. Even though she has to relinquish authority at LTC, she feels she can succeed.

“I know what it takes to be a great Soldier and a great leader, because I’m around people like that every day,” she said.

One of those people is her husband. Taren, currently an active duty second lieutenant stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., has been in the Army for 15 years. He understands the types of courses and training Antoinette will endure at Fort Knox this summer and has been there throughout her evolution to become Army-ready.

“It has been pretty inspiring,” he said.

Taren watches the children while Antoinette is away at LTC, with the kids going to daycare while he is at work. Her ROTC schedule won’t interfere with watching the children, as she will usually be done with those activities by the time she must pick them up from school and daycare.

As Antoinette gains more confidence and knowledge of the military while at LTC, she had some advice for those who may find themselves in the same situation she was in before joining ROTC.

“Don’t give up,” Antoinette said. “Don’t quit.”

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