Seabee recruiter embraces american ideals seabee online

From a young age, Construction Electrician 1st Class Caroline Ballad, was drawn to the idea of the military. Its look, organization, and camaraderie captivated her. Now serving as a Navy recruiter, the military has given her a chance to be a part of something bigger and to positively influence people around her. Ballad is a reservist that is currently on active duty as a recruiter, but her journey to get where she is today goes a long way back. Construction Electrician 1st Class Caroline Ballad works at her desk processing Future Sailor’s paperwork for entering the Navy, Aug. 10, 2018. (Photo by Dan Puleio)

Ballad was born in Orleans, France. The daughter of Polish refugee parents, she immigrated to Canada with her family. Her family traveled where her father found work, which eventually brought her the United States at age 11.

She spoke only French and Polish at the time, and her world revolved totally around her family, but that was about to change.

“I always wanted to be part of the military,” Ballad said. “As a young person, my reasons were simple. The recruitment posters and the uniformed members who visited my school fascinated me. While in France, I wasn’t particularly patriotic, but in my teen years, living in Texas, I fell in love with the United States. I remember seeing big trucks everywhere, huge flags, and ‘God Bless America’ all over the radio and sporting events. Although I didn’t know anyone killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Toby Keith’s song ‘American Soldier’ meant so much to me.”

“I later relocated to Salt Lake City, but my plans to join the Navy were on hold since I was now expecting my first child,” Ballad said. “As soon as my son was born and I was back on my feet, I visited the local Navy recruiting office. My recruiter was a great role model, and I wanted to be like him. He suggested that I go [on] active duty but, honestly, I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into, so I decided to join the Naval Reserve. I like both physical and mental challenges, and when the Seabees were offered, I jumped at the opportunity to become a construction electrician.”

Ballad feverishly took on assignments and earned awards along the way, but she wanted more. That brought her to CANREC, which is the recruiter recall program. This program is for Navy reservists to accept active duty orders as a production recruiter and execute the Navy recruiting mission. It is a full-time job that comes with the benefits of active duty.

“I did not want to let my chief down, so I worked as hard as I could to exceed all expectations,” Ballad said. “The Navy has been there for me through my highest highs and lowest lows, and it has always been there to watch my back. I work daily to be able to provide that same support to other people as well.” Circa May 2015, Construction Electrician 1st Class Caroline Ballad took part in a Readiness Training Platform in Port Hueneme, Calif. with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 18. (Courtesy photo from CE1 Caroline Ballad)

Out of nearly five years, Ballad has spent more than half in Navy recruiting where she earned petty officer second class and then was promoted again through the Meritorious Advancement Program to petty officer first class. Prior to Navy Recruiting District Denver’s command reorganization to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Rocky Mountain, Ballad rose to become her station’s leading petty officer.