“I am part of the Army,” Nevada National Guard Officer Candidate and former Mineral County resident Tana Gurule said.
In her voice is no hesitancy; no fear; no regret. Gurule knows exactly who she is and where she is heading. She is now serving at Ft. Benning, Ga.
The 2004 Mineral County High School graduate has always been driven and focused. In high school, the records show she was a force to be reckoned with on the court. Listening to her speak about her service to her country, she’s also a force off the court.
Joining the military has always been on Gurule’s mind. “It was always something I wanted to do,” she explains in a phone interview but never knew anything about joining until a friend explained the benefits.
Growing up in Hawthorne, Gurule lived on the Hawthorne Army Depot with her father, who had been in the military. “He didn’t talk a lot about it but. the way he raised us was strict. I thought it was cool.” This influenced the soldier towards the military.
The Reflections of the Past in the Independent-News shows Gurule’s leadership 10 years ago. Not only was she academically strong but she also played three sports. She credits sports to helping her to “opening up to meeting others. People you don’t know. It teaches you to get along and help out.”
Officer Candidates School is not the first time the soldier has seen the inside of a classroom. Knowing the benefits of academics, Gurule entered the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she graduated in December of 2011 with a masters in criminal justice.
“[I would like to] come home [to Hawthorne] and work with Dede Jeringan to speak with students about the opportunities of the Army. A career with the National Guard at the age of 18 looks good on a resume. It is so helpful to have that on your application.”
Gurule will graduate on March 13 from officer candidates school. From there she will head back home to Las Vegas until she hears word back from the guard to head to Ft. Leonardwood, Mo., where she will begin her comprehensive training.
Gurule chose a field that will challenge her. She will become a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialist. This was her second choice in employment, her first being Combat Engineer.
Heading home to “America’s Patriotic Home” this year will be different for the soldier. “I was going through the clearance process last year during Armed Forces Day.”
This year will mark Gurule’s 10 year high school reunion. The soldier will come home to her hometown, a different person.
“I am unsure of how I will feel. I know I’ll be glad to be home.”
While studying, training and preparing for the National Guard, Gurule is also looking for employment.
“I would like to get on with the Las Vegas Police Department,” she said.
Proven to be strong and driven, Gurule is on her way to proving to the small, sleepy town of Hawthorne, that one of their hometown kids, with a little hard work, has made their mark on the world.