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Anchors Aweigh

UTA Broadcast Major, Navy Vet, Pursues Life at Full Speed Ahead

By Monica Nagy, dot comm Staff

ARLINGTON, Texas - Gathering the remnants of leftover cream cheese from her afternoon bagel out of a miniature plastic cup, Amber Raymond eats the cheese off a plastic knife and smiles.

Amber Raymond UTA Broadcasting Major

The UT Arlington broadcast junior is busy woman. She's enrolled in 15 hours of classes, works at an internship for Night Light, a Christian radio station, and is a promotional specialist for MillerCoors on the weekends.

Being busy isn't something new to Raymond. After graduating from high school in May 2006, she was off to Navy boot camp by August of that year.

"I joined the Navy so my parents wouldn't have to struggle to pay for my college," she said.

The transition from high school student to full-blown sailor was not an easy one. As an aviation ordnance mechanic, she built weapons and missiles to send up to the flight deck, spending one six-month stint in the Persian Gulf, and then another for five months.

One of Raymond's hardships was being one of 700 females on an aircraft carrier with 5,000 men.

"I joined the Navy
so my parents wouldn't
have to struggle to
pay for my college."
Amber Raymond UTA Broadcasting Major

"It was like put out or get out,"she said. "You have to have really thick skin."

With three older brothers, she's always been a tom boy and knows how to defend herself.

Raymond's mother, Annalisa Raymond, said she and her husband tried to talk their daughter out of joining the Navy.

"I told her I would work three jobs to pay for her to go to college," her mother said. "The child sacrificed three years of her life so her parents wouldn't have to pay for her to go to school."

(Raymond wrote about her service as part of a July 4, 2011, package in the Star-Telegram. It can be found at http://bit.ly/GY7qg6)

Three years later she left the Navy. Under the GI bill she has three years to complete college, requiring her to take a full course load each semester and during the summer.

"From the moment I got home I started school right away," she said.