TARIN KOT, Afghanistan – Growing up on a farm in Weston, Ohio, Army Spc. Michelle Renay Metzger enjoyed getting dirty and working with farm machinery.
A graduate of McComb High School in McComb, Ohio, and current junior at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, Metzger said she enjoys sports and four-wheeling, and was drawn to the military in high school.
“I joined the National Guard to better myself in general and have a better appreciation of life,” she explained.
Metzger completed basic training in April 2010 at Fort Jackson, S.C. From there, she attended advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to become a motor transport operator.
“When given the definition of what a motor transport operator was, I couldn’t wait to learn about armored vehicles that had survived improvised explosive device blasts and traversed some of the harshest terrain in the world,” Metzger said. “I am always learning something new about the trucks, whether it is a new device that has been incorporated into the truck or learning how to replace the brake pads.”
Metzger has been deployed with the Ohio Army National Guard’s 1487th Transportation Company since January as a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle driver. Her daily job includes basic maintenance on the vehicle, such as checking and adding fluids and inspecting the engine, tires and windows. She also is expected to keep her training current on navigation and communication systems, and must keep a strict inventory.
As an MRAP driver, Metzger said, she keeps a log of every mile she’s driven. Her mileage for the deployment now stands at about 3,000.
When she returns home, Metzger said, she plans to help her father with the harvest on her family’s farm while also attending dental hygiene school.
Metzger says the military has presented her with a great sense of accomplishment. While others have told her in the past that she couldn’t join the military, couldn’t drive a gun truck, or couldn’t handle a deployment, she said, she overcame the odds and completed her goals.
“I want my niece and my future children to look up to me in a way that I look up to women in the military,” she said.