Samantha, a Phoenix native and graduate of Cortez High School, enlisted in the US Navy after receiving her Associates Degree from Glendale Community College in May 2004. After receiving her basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training facility in IL she was assigned to the USS Gonzalez, a guided missile destroyer, out of Norfolk, VA. On Samantha's first deployment, the mission was to patrol the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Arden. During this deployment, she worked as a deck hand and during a ship shooting competition became one of the ship's top guns and was moved into the ship's armory to become a Gunners Mate. Upon completion of the NAU online Bachelor's Degree program in 2009 Samantha petitioned the US Navy Officer's Candidate School (OCS) for admission. In May 2010 Sam graduated from the US Navy OCS as a Surface Warfare Officer Ensign and assigned to the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, stationed in San Diego, CA. In 2011 the USS Boxer, USS Comstock, USS Greenbay, and The US Marine 13th Expeditionary Unit were deployed to patrol in the Arabian Sea, Horn of Africa and work with US Allied nations in ridding the area of maritime pirates. Samantha is again preparing for a third deployment this year to patrol the waters of the Middle East. She is currently a Lieutenant Junior Grade looking forward to going to the US NAVAL Post Graduate School for her master's degree so she can achieve her ultimate goal of ship captain and possibly reaching a flag officer position. She is also a single mother of a 6 year old daughter, who lives with her grandparents in Phoenix. Samantha flies back and forth to spend as much time as she can with her daughter. It's a demanding job, but worth it for preserving everyone's freedoms.