Veterans Oral History Project

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

e2fd8513f0349dd98a70_67a8a49e262a19e5e279_happy_veterans_day_mom.jpg
e2fd8513f0349dd98a70_67a8a49e262a19e5e279_happy_veterans_day_mom.jpg

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the program, they basically said, ‘It’s an easy way to get an A,’ and I was all about my GPA,” she said.  “I said, ‘Sure I have some time; let me take this ROTC thing.’ ”

Sign Up for E-News

It was after her freshman year that my mom realized she was doing well at what she did with ROTC, so she decided to devote more time to it her sophomore year.

“I decided to take it a little more seriously to see if ROTC was really serious for me,” she said.

Her hard work paid off. She was invited to basic camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, after her sophomore year. The rigorous four-week program trained recruits in military leadership as they competed for ROTC scholarships. My mom was one of those who earned the scholarship.

Upon graduation in 1993, my mom was given an active duty role in the Army.

10553848_10205110549747430_1318340955562143488_o (1)

My mom’s official company command photo when she was a captain

“I was not intending on making it a career,” she said.  “As I served as a lieutenant, I realized that I was able to serve my country, and I could help my fellow soldiers complete a mission.”

My mother met my father, Carlton Discavage, during the summer of 1993.  She was staying in Francis Hall working for Residential Life while he was taking summer classes at the university.  They were married in August of 1994.

11111796_10206748912265469_1483121792957410476_o

My parents at last year’s military ball

As with any member of the military, she found herself moving with my family every few years.  Chicago, Seoul and Germany are only a few of the locations that we have lived in.

Initially, all the moving was tough, but my family slowly adapted to the idea of it by our fifth or sixth move.

“It was difficult at first,” my dad said.  “After a while, we settled into a routine.”

I, along with my three siblings Teri, Chris and Joey, adapted easily because it was the only thing we knew growing up. We never lived in one place longer than four years.

“It can be a bit of an adventure,” my dad said.  “There’s also a lot of stress involved.”

Because being in the military forces means service during times of war, my mom found herself being deployed to Afghanistan in January of 2010.

“I knew that I was due for a deployment,” she recalled. “The wars with Iraq and Afghanistan had been in effect  for almost ten years at that point.  I knew I was up. Everyone knew it was coming; it was just a matter of when.”

The timing of her deployment was unfortunate as the family had only returned to Germany one week after attending her father’s funeral.  She was told that she would be shipped out to Afghanistan less than a month after she got orders to deploy.

“Life was difficult at that point,” she said as she thought back to the difficult month.

After arriving at Bagram air base in Afghanistan, my mom was assigned to a military intelligence unit as the foreign disclosure officer.

“It was my job to look at the material my unit was producing and determine what was releasable to other nationalities,” she said.  “If we had a document, we would take out this sentence or that sentence, and the rest would now be releasable to the Germans, to the Brits, to the Afghans, depending on whom we were discussing.”

Looking back at essentially a single parent at home in Germany, my father said, “It was difficult at first. The older ones were able to help.”

My mother returned to Germany from Afghanistan in February 2011.

Currently a lieutenant colonel, she still lives with my father and siblings in Germany, where she has the role of Inspector General, ensuring that all of the soldiers in the 5th Signal Command, encompassing Germany, Italy, Belgium, England and North Africa, are up to date on military regulation and operating properly to make sure that everything is going according to plan.

“I am the eyes, ears and conscience of the commander,” she said.  “It is my job to ensure that regulations are followed.  We provide a means for folks who feel they have been wronged to have their voices heard.”

Looking forward, my family is scheduled to leave Germany in the summer of 2016.  My mom will have finished her term as Inspector General.  Currently, it is too early to tell which jobs will be open for her next.

“They have not even gotten to the point where they know what assignments are available yet,” she said.

1455888_10202380292612708_123687584_n

My mom with her two younger brothers, Eric (center) and Sol (right), shortly after Sol joined the Marines

When she looks back on her career, she will tell you there is one thing she gained from St. Bonaventure that is still a big part of her life.

“The family feeling of St. Bonaventure is something that I enjoyed,” my mom said. “And the Army, in its way, is also a family to me.

“I simply moved from my family at home to my family at school to my family in the Army.”

# # #

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

'March for Our Lives' Started A Historic Movement

Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.

It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.

As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for ...

Bonnies Historic Season Will Give Community Source of Pride Years to Come

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball season came to an end earlier than the team had hoped. Coaches looked disappointed, and players covered their faces with towels. St. Bonaventure’s (26-8) loss to Florida (21-12) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament left many thinking what if?

However, the Bonnies historic season is nothing for the team to ...

Sights and Sounds: The First Four of the NCAA Tournament

Traffic is a common occurrence, but for fans of the Dayton Flyers, it’s a usual event every gameday. A trip across the Great Miami River leads to the Flyers’ athletic complex. It became the same ritual for Bonnies fans heading to the University of Dayton Arena for the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012.

Snow, sleet and hail pounded down on the car as we ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, April 23

Olean Public Library, Olean

Mother Goose Story Time

Education

Mon, April 23

Olean Public Library, Olean

Introduction to Spinning, a History of Yarn

Arts & Entertainment

Mon, April 23, 6:30 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Investigation Stations

Education

Olean Litter Control Program Prepares for Spring

April 18, 2018

OLEAN, NY – Spring weather is approaching and the City of Olean Litter Control Program is armed with bags and gloves to start cleaning up the litter that winter has left behind.

“This year we are in great need of volunteers” said Lila Ervay, the committee’s chairman. “We currently have a number of volunteer groups consisting of schools, businesses, churches and ...

New Scholarship Dedicated to ALCS Teacher “Bernie” Taylor

ALLEGANY, NY -- The teachers that make learning simple and fun while connecting with students are often the ones most fondly remembered.

Bernadette “Bernie” Taylor was that kind of teacher at Allegany-Limestone Central School for more than 30 years according to her widower, Thomas Taylor.

“She had the skill of making chemistry easy. Chemistry tends to be tough for ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...