With a board background in Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Amanda began her military career with Vandenburg AFB in California. There, she recovered a crashed Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System. She then served at Osan AB in South Korea, where she worked with Korean EOD forces disposing of naval missile systems. During this tour, she coordinated with the US Army to dispose 12,000 anti-personnel landmines. Amanda then moved on to Nellis AFB, Nevada, leading 15-man teams clearing 3.1 million acres of hazardous ordnance. Amanda next was selected to start-up the first Post-911 EOD flight at F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming. Working with limited funds and personnel, she was pivotal to ensuring unit nuclear certification within six months. Finally, Amanda transitioned to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas where she was the Flight Chief of the EOD unit covering a four-state area, coordinated training with the FBI and local Bomb Squad personnel within the state of Arkansas.
During her 21 year military career, Amanda was deployed across the Middle East: Khamis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia; Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; Al Jaber, Kuwait; Al Dhafra, United Arab Emirates; Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan; Patrol Base O’Ryan, Iraq; and Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Her military awards are extensive. They include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor and three oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Armed Forces Services Medal, and NATO Non-Article Five ISAF Medal.
In June, 1996, Amanda was in the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia when terrorists bombed them with a large vehicle bomb. She received a concussion, lacerations from flying glass and debris, TBI and started the first symptoms of PTSD. She managed to remain in the Air Force for another 14 years and deployed to various overseas locations. While at a Patrol Base in Iraq, Amanda compounded several of her earlier injuries of PTSD, TBI, spinal injuries and suffered from, at that time, undiagnosed CMPD. Amanda’s last deployment was in Afghanistan, after which she became medically disqualified to further deploy. She was medically released and then retired after more than two decades of service.
Amanda currently suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Bain Injury (TBI), Spinal Injuries, and Chronic Myofascial Pain Disorder (CMPD) from repeated injuries. The CMPD causes severe spams and pain around all the muscle groups in the torso, arms and head. These have started to move where the bones are in their natural position. She still has glass fragments exude from her head, back and feet to this day.
Earlier in her life, Amanda was an avid runner, hiker, and a general outdoors type of person. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, on several occasions, she enjoyed skiing. Unfortunately, many of these activities are no longer an option. She now has a yoga and meditation schedule to help with her chronic pain and plans to return to running at some point. Amanda has three acres and three horses and is working on riding her horses. “Working with the horses has been a great experience,” she said.
Amanda is enthusiastic about her participation in the February 2012 Soldiers to the Summit at Snowbird expedition. “Heck, yeah I am going!” she said. “I can’t wait to ski again. I am finally getting my husband to some cold for fun, since he is not a winter kind of person! On the other hand, I cannot wait to try this out again … such good memories.”