B United: Ellie Pugel, U.S. Army

MEET ELLIE! She and her husband (a sailor in the Navy) have spent more than half of their relationship long distance, as they serve our country on deployments. Thank you for your service and for sharing your story with us!

Name: Ellie Pugel

Age: 23

Hometown: Bellevue, WA

Family: I’m married to a sailor in the Navy with two dogs!

Branch: Army

Job Title: Engineer Officer

Enlist Date: commissioned June 2019

What motivated you to join the military? I missed team sports and wanted a community that was similar to a team.

Are or were any of your family members in the military? Yes both of my Grandpas served

Why did you choose this branch? I chose army engineering for the applicability towards my BS in Environmental Science. They both involve developing project management skills.

What are some things you miss most about home when you are deployed? Cooking, my own food, being with my family, having a space that’s my own.

What are some of the biggest challenges of being a woman in the military? Respect has to be earned and it is not assumed that you are equipped for your job level.

How do you stay in shape? I lift weights and run.

B United - Delivering Healthy Care Packages to Support Women in the Military

I have some SUPER EXCITING NEWS, you guys! As some of you might remember from my previous social media posts, one of my VERY best childhood friends, Whitnee, who is in the Air Force, was deployed overseas this past year. She reached out to me back in October 2018 asking for my help. The food where she was stationed was pretty awful and she was struggling to get enough protein in her diet so she could function at her highest capacity on the job – and her JOB is protecting our country. 

In addition to serving in the military, she works as a personal trainer back in the states and helps others define their strong. I have always looked up to Whitnee for her determination, work ethic, fortitude - and her willingness to give of herself so freely to others in need. So when she reached out to me asking for help, I rallied my troops to do anything I could to help her - because that is exactly the kind of person she is. 

 We have been friends since we were FOUR, and let me tell you... this girl is a total POWERHOUSE. Growing up together, she was an incredible athlete (volleyball, basketball, track), an honor student, and has the most incredible zest for life - always smiling, laughing and choosing happiness and positivity - even when life gets hard. 

When I shared Whitnee’s story with my amazing Isopure family, they generously donated a HUGE box of protein powder that I shipped to her, and I have joined forces with several other brands who make some of my favorite products, who are so graciously donating goods to ship in my healthy care packages to these inspiring women.

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A month later, I received a package in the mail from Whitnee!  It was an American flag and a certificate that was in MY NAME... that she and another female pilot flew on a jet the night a successful mission was executed. After I stopped sobbing over the generosity of this beautiful, priceless gift, I had an idea – and an overwhelming sense of urgency to help other women serving overseas.

So I have started a passion project, called B United. Every month, I will send healthy care packages to the badass women who selflessly serve our country and will be sharing these courageous women’s stories on my blog to all of YOU! 

To kick-off this series, I want to introduce you all to my new friend -

Jen Clark Workman, Combat Medic,United States Army

Jen Clark Workman, Combat Medic, United States Army

Name: Jen Clark Workman

Age: 37

Hometown: Wilmington, Delaware 

Family: Three Chihuahua’s : Taco Bell, Tinkerbell, and Lily Bell

Branch: Army

Job Title: 68W - Combat Medic

Job Description: Provide emergency medical treatment, limited primary care, and health protection and evacuation from point of injury or illness

Favorite part of your job: I love working with brand new Soldiers and junior Leaders, teaching them about the Army, and seeing that “lightbulb moment” when things start to make sense. I also have great coworkers - they keep it fun!

Enlist Date: 17 November 1999

What motivated you to join the military? When I graduated high school in 1999 at the age of 17, I wasn’t motivated to attend college. I was working two jobs and wanted a change. I called an Army recruiter on a whim one day and a few months later, I was on my way to basic training. Looking back though, the idea of getting to see the world while serving something greater than myself was the biggest motivator. 

Are or were any of your family members in the military? If so, who and what branch? My grandfather served in the Army during the Korean War, and I have a cousin in the Marines.

Why did you choose this branch? Considering I get significant motion sickness, I knew I couldn’t serve on a boat in the Navy or an aircraft in the Air Force. The Army recruiter was my first call, and I was offered the duty station of my choice, the job of my choice and a small bonus.  

Tell me a little about your time in bootcamp. I remember being scared to death, I was a very shy, quiet and extremely awkward 17 year old! The first day with the drill sergeants “shark attack” on all of us new recruits was intense; in that moment, I seriously had doubts if I made the right choice.  Seriously though, I had amazing drill sergeants; they were super tough, constantly pushing us to our limits, but making us stronger in the process. I’m extremely grateful for their motivation and professionalism. It was 10 weeks straight of overcoming insecurities and fears – like my extreme fear of heights while repelling from a tower, fear of failure to achieve the minimum standards on basic rifle marksmanship, the Army Physical Fitness Test standards, the anxiety of throwing live grenades, and rucking 12 miles with a 35lb ruck on my back in 3 hours. It’s a lot of stress for a young person with little experience in life with not much of a physical background. I played volleyball in high school, but that did not prepare me for the rigors of basic training. 

Where have you traveled to while in the service? Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, Fort Lewis, WA, Kuwait, Fort Bragg, NC; Schofield Barracks, HI; Iraq; Fort Richardson, AK; Afghanistan; Fort Meade, MD; Fort Bliss, TX; and Camp Humphreys, Korea. 

What are some things you miss most about home when you are deployed? Mainly family and my fur babies, but sometimes it’s simple things like fresh air, green grass, and ordering food in English. 

What rank are you most proud to have earned and why? First Sergeant; it is literally the most rewarding position in the Army in my opinion. Being able to mold, influence, train, mentor and guide young Soldiers to become young, professional Leaders is the most satisfying achievement there is. It is truly an honor to hold the position of First Sergeant in the Army. 

What are some of the biggest challenges of being a woman in the military? There are a few instances where I served in all male units; I’m going to be honest, it’s not always easy because not everyone receives females with the same mentality. I had to prove my abilities early on to gain their trust and confidence. I’ve had overall great experiences and have been received well, but it doesn’t always come easy. 

Do you plan to retire in the military? Or what are your post-military plans? I really want to start my own business when I retire in the next year or so. I would like to try my hand at a Hawaiian food truck! 

How has your service and experiences affected your life? I’m definitely appreciate the small things, I’ve learned not to take anything for granted. I know that if you want something, you have to be willing to put in the hard work and go the extra mile to achieve your goals, nothing is handed to you. I’m definitely more resilient because of the Army. Things don’t always go the way you plan, you quickly learn to adapt and move forward, instead of focusing on everything that’s going wrong. 

What do you like to do for fun? I love traveling, working out and cooking. 

How do you stay in shape? I’m really into high intensity circuit training and have come to adopt the “functional fitness” mindset. I use my Fitbit to keep me honest, it helps keep me moving throughout the work day. I really enjoy working out with other people and motivating them to achieve their fitness goals. Helping others helps me to push myself at the same time.

What makes you feel strong? The will power to say no to all the junk food I really want to eat. Just kidding. JI think just seeing myself getting stronger at the gym, being able to move heavier weight each time or go a longer distance, that sense of accomplishment and achievement. 

Do YOU know an amazing woman deployed overseas Who’s story I should share & can send a healthy care package to?

Want to donate products for Care packages?

Let’s talk! :)