A Windy Welcome
Written by Patricia Giesler, President and CEO of Giesler LLC
My first experience going overseas while on active duty in the Navy was crazy! I arrived on the Military rotator out of Norfolk, August 2001. My sponsor provided me with a Navy issued, enormous green parka before even leaving the arrival area. I stepped outside to catch a massive gust of wind in the hood, which threw me on the ground and rolled me around like tumbleweed (it would not be the last time)! I experienced a winter whiteout, an earthquake, I ate a lambdog with crunchy onions, got hit by sideways rain, 24 hours of night and 24 hours of day, I walked behind waterwalls, I swam in a blue lagoon, and I saw the Northern Lights.
Where was I? You guessed it, I was in Keflavik Iceland, and from Aug 2001 – Dec 2004! And man did I get sick of hearing everyone say “Iceland is green and Greenland is Ice, right?” YES! Iceland is greener than Greenland, but that doesn’t mean it’s not freezing, snowing, sleeting, raining, and so windy they nail trash dumpsters down to the pavement and tell you to hold on to your small children.
I joined the Navy to travel around the world on a ship, go exploring, and have adventures doing some type of spy work for my country. The recruiter told me that Radioman (which later became IT) was in the Spy category (Umm...not exactly true) in the Navy, and promised me a bunch of other stuff, so I signed my name. However, there were NO billets for females on ships when I graduated RM A School, so I got sent to Norfolk. After spending a couple of years at NCTAMS LANT Det. Hampton Roads, I requested to terminate my shore duty orders for type 3 overseas and got sent to Iceland.
Being in Iceland was good for me personally and professionally. I met my husband, I started teaching AWANAs at my church and singing in the choir, I was promoted by the Navy, and completed 2 years of school. I met wonderful people in Iceland and keep in touch with them to this day. One day, my husband, Shea, and I plan to return to Iceland with our children, but we’ll be sure to visit during the summer months, when the weather is more forgiving. Until then, I’ll treasure the fond memories of my first overseas adventure.