The Spark of Military Life

The Spark of Military Life

Michigan National Guard


Date: 03.13.2019
Posted: 03.13.2019 13:53
News ID: 314106

Saldana-Sipley bats for the Michigan National Guard

Photo By Spc. Samantha Hall | Michigan National Guard Master Sgt. Angelina Saldana-Sipley, the readiness and operations noncommissioned officer at Joint Forces Headquarters, bats for the Michigan National Guard women’s softball team in Lansing, Michigan. Saldana-Sipley also played for the Eglin Air Force Base women’s softball team in Florida earlier in her career.

“I’ve always had that spark of military life,” said Michigan National Guard Master Sgt. Angelina Saldana-Sipley, the readiness and operations noncommissioned officer at Joint Forces Headquarters.

She grew up near Flint, Michigan, with her mother and grandmother telling stories of her father in service of his country as a Marine before he passed. When she was 13, a family friend, Soldier, and sister in every way besides blood invited young Saldana-Sipley to live with her at Fort Hood, Texas, for a summer. She got to see what military life was all about outside of stories, even dressing in fatigues.

“I just thought it was the coolest thing ever, and so, from that point forward, I knew I was going to join the military,” she said.
In 1999, she joined the Air Force as a supply management specialist and served at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

“With management, you really get to know people and learn from them along the way with their life experiences,” she said. “Working with all different types of people every day really beings a broad outlook on the military and how it all plays together.”

Soon she was scheduled to deploy for the first time on a mission to Jordan; scheduled departure, September 12, 2001.

The mission was put on the back-burner after the events of 9/11, and she was instead sent to the nation of Oman as the supply specialist for Lockhead C130 gunships on Masirah Island as war efforts began.
This was the beginning of a career dedicated to task-oriented management to enable the service members around her to succeed.

“I feel that to be a good leader you have to have great management skills,” Saldana-Sipley said. “I like to see the end product, and what makes it more rewarding is when someone you are managing/leading along the way gets that credit they deserve. You can see their sense of pride.”

Her initial contract ended after four eventful years, including time spent in the Honor Guard, the Air Force travelling women’s softball team and a sit-down with President George W. Bush. She decided it was time to return home to Michigan, where she used her Montgomery GI Bill to pursue a degree in business management.

However, she wasn’t finished with the military just yet.

“I had the sense of wanting to be back in the military lifestyle. I missed the camaraderie, putting on the uniform every day,” she said. “You can even pick up on a haircut or their demeanor and all of sudden you just click and become friends instantly. And you carry on that friendship; you may be states apart, but you always have that connection.”

She sparked a conversation with an Army National Guard recruiter one day while going about her day-to-day business and soon joined the 464th Quartermaster Company as a 92A, or automated logistical specialist.

“But I still wanted more. The one weekend a month wasn’t enough,” she said, and therefore converted to a 42A, or human resources specialist, to serve in a full-time position for the 272nd Regional Support Group as the training and administrative NCO.

She deployed with the 272nd RSG to Mosul, Iraq, in 2008, where she embedded with the Iraqi army to teach them administrative, communication, and computer systems.

Later, she returned to the 464th QM as their readiness NCO, where she was able to perform as a leader within the unit she had served years before, then later accepted her current position at JFHQ.

“Being in the military has definitely been a great thing for me. I love it,” she said.

Saldana-Sipley has a daughter, age 13, who has grown up with stories of faraway places and seen her mother serve her country proudly.

“She’s wanting to go into the Marines,” Saldana-Sipley said, just like her grandfather.


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