FORT LEE, Va.-Amy Stritikus was slated to get married to fianc Brian Curtis Sept. 17 but was instead called upon to serve her country and was activated Sept. 4. However, Curtis-a reservist himself-was understanding and was called into active duty himself and will be heading for Afghanistan shortly. The two will see little, if any, of each other for a year or more, depending upon how long their deployment lasts. She explained that they knew this was a possibility and is not too worried about their relationship. Aside from the wedding that has been delayed due to Stritikus’ active duty status as an Army reservist, she was only able to spend a few weeks at her new job as an examiner for NCUA in Elkhorn, Neb. before being activated. “There is a pay cut, but what really sucks is I was at NCUA only three weeks-I’m not complaining about NCUA, they’re awesome-it’s the loss of potential income,” she explained. She added that the advantage to serving overseas, which she may be called upon to do, is that you don’t have to pay taxes and you make more money from hazardous pay and other extras. Stritikus says she was pleased that NCUA was willing to wait on her. She was hired by the agency back in April, but was on an assignment that carried her through August. She officially started with the agency Aug. 8, but had already received new orders, which only come a month in advance for reservists, for her activation. Stritikus did note that during her interview for the job, her future supervisor asked about how she dealt with stress, about which the sergeant first class said after you have had bullets whizzing by your head, NCUA cannot be that bad. During the first Gulf War, Stritikus was serving in the regular Army and, describing herself as a “gung-ho girl,” had requested to get as close to the action as a woman possibly could. She got in some combat situations and even shot down some planes. Stritikus has requested to remain a noncommissioned officer, like her father, a retired sergeant. Of her service, she said, “I like it because it’s what everybody should probably do. And I like blowing things up occasionally.” After a couple years in the Army, she got out and has served as a reservist for the last 13 or so years. Her little brother is already serving in Afghanistan, she said. Stritikus asked to be deployed with him “to take care of him,” but it did not work out. Right now, she is serving as a small arms instructor at Fort Lee in Virginia training the troops on the handling of seven different weapons. Her fianc is also a small arms instructor; they tried to get deployed together but that did not work out either. Still, she said, “I like serving.I look at people driving to a store and driving big SUVs and don’t have a care in the world.” In good and bad ways, Americans are a bit spoiled she said, and she wants to give others that same opportunity. She pointed out that only 60% of registered voters even bothered to turn out for the presidential elections, but people are dying for the chance in Iraq and Afghanistan. -

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