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NEWS | July 28, 2023

From lieutenant to captain: Real-world missions part of thriving Army Reserve career

By Staff Sgt. Kelly Willett 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support)

Army Reserve 1st Lt. Lacy Elwood double-checked a text from her phone notifying her that she was promoted to the rank of captain during the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Wellness mission on July 14, 2023.

“The feeling was surreal that I get to be out on a real-world mission while also advancing in my field back home,” said Elwood.

Elwood recently participated in Resolute Sentinel, an international humanitarian mission in Latin America and the Caribbean. After two weeks in Guatemala, she asked herself, “How can I get on another one of these missions immediately?”

When the opportunity came for the IRT CNMI Wellness mission, Elwood jumped to volunteer again. As this is Elwood’s first IRT mission, she felt lucky to be selected for the team providing services to the island of Tinian.

Doing a military mission in a school thousands of miles away from home while simultaneously helping the community of Tinian is fulfilling for Elwood.

“When you get these members together that have a servant's heart in both their civilian and military lives, you get a group that wants to grind to provide the best care possible for the communities they serve,” said Elwood.

Elwood started her military career as an enlisted Soldier, joining the Army at 20 years old as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist. She made the decision to join while seeking both direction in her life and a way to pay for nursing school.

After obtaining her nursing degree, Elwood realized, “I love nursing, and I love the Army. Why not join them together and do what I love times two.”

Elwood currently serves with the 141st Medical Detachment out of Springfield, Missouri.

IRT medical missions not only prepare military members for real world experiences in deployed settings but also impact the local community in immeasurable ways. The IRT CNMI Wellness mission was predominately made up of Army Reserve and Air National Guard military members.