‘We made it, Mom’: U.S. Army Soldier Commissioned to Second Lieutenant After Years of Struggle

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article’s headline used the word “promoted.” The more appropriate word in this context is “commissioned” and the headline has been altered to reflect that.

In a “proud uncle moment” shared on Facebook, Fue Xiong congratulated his niece, Anyamanee Saksri, who was commissioned as a U.S. Army Second Lieutenant last May.

Saksri went to Norwich University in Vermont, she told NextShark. She applied for a 3-year ROTC, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, scholarship at the school to not financially burden her hardworking mother.

Saksri and her mother, who immigrated to the U.S., posing for a photo at Saksri’s commencement at Norwich University.

“My mom is a hard-working woman who immigrated to this country to better my future. She worked two-three jobs, all custodian-related, just so she can save money for me to pursue higher education,” she said.

Norwich University’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AROTC) program is the oldest ROTC program of its kind in the country, according to its website. Commission as a second lieutenant is achieved after eight semesters of Military Science (and Mil-Sci Lab), participation in Army Physical Fitness three days a week, passing an Army Physical Fitness test, and more. After college, Saksri was obligated to serve four years active and four years reserve, she said.

Saksri was motivated to join because of her love of the country, a place she calls home for her and her mother.

Saksri stands with other members of her graduating class.

“I feel the need to protect this nation and its Constitution because the United States have protected us,” Saksri said.

It took a year for her to convince her family of her decision, especially her grandfather, she said.

“Being the only child and a female, I was discouraged to join the military because [it’s considered] dangerous,” she said. “My grandparents lived through WWII and the Vietnam War, so joining a use-of-force organization is [frowned] upon by them.”

There were 43,001 female officers in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force of March this year, according to the Defense of Manpower Data. As an Asian American woman in the military, Saksri does not see civilian culture reflected in the military’s culture.

Saksri raises her right hand in the air as her mother looks on. She had felt as if she had “made it” during her commission, she told NextShark.

From my cadet training to working on my first duty assignment, your background and the color of your skin will not segregate you from the team but how much you can contribute will,” she said. “The military is an intense environment where everyone is expected to do their best to accomplish the same mission. To succeed, everyone must trust each other, and know that they have [each other’s backs] in time of crises.”

During the pandemic, Saksri is in South Korea while her husband and mother are in the United States.

As a U.S. Army Officer, Saksri is inspired in deciding how she can influence her soldiers to accomplish their mission successfully.

“During my commission, I felt that I made it,” she said. “I’m financially independent; I can take care of my mom now. All the hardships that my mom and I endured in the past were all for that moment. We made it, mom.”

All Images via Anyamanee Saksri

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