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NEWS | Sept. 11, 2023

1st Lt. Anna Zaccaria's inspirational odyssey: Transitioning from civilian life to Army Reserve, forging path to achievement

By Spc. Alexandria Romanack 220th Public Affairs Detachment

The U.S. Army Reserve is a chance to pursue your individual career or education, as well as be able to serve your country close to home.

For 1st Lt. Anna Zaccaria, that’s exactly what it was. “[I]t allowed me the opportunity to have a civilian job, but also do something completely different.”

Going from working with clients in the civilian world to patrolling through the woods as an infantryman, the reserve has enhanced Zaccaria with leadership skills, communication skills, and being able to work well under pressure.

“The Army is made up of everybody from everywhere and every walk of life,” Zaccaria starts, “the Army brings together this group of people who sometimes you would never put together and it forces you to work together to learn about one other, learn their strengths and their weaknesses and execute a mission.”

This type of environment has helped when it comes to working with her clients. It has helped her adapt; to assess the clients she works with, be able to communicate effectively with them.

Zaccaria recently graduated from Ranger School, a sentence not many females in the Army can say, and only one from the reserve.

“I want to be like her.” Zaccaria said, talking about the first Army Ranger Graduate Maj. Kristen Griest, “I want to push myself in that way and achieve something that at one point was never possible.”

Her leadership did everything that they could to help prepare her, even putting her in touch with Maj. Griest, who helped mentally prepare her for the challenges she was about to face.

“Take the leap.” She mused, “find a really great support system; there’s nothing you can’t achieve.” Zaccaria reflected on how much her mentors, in and out of uniform, had helped her, not only to go through Ranger School, but also when it came from transitioning from the reserves to active duty. She wouldn’t be going to Fort Liberty if it weren’t for her leadership acknowledging her determination and passion for her job.

When asked if she had any advice to give to individuals thinking about joining the Army Reserve, she said, “you have to give yourself the opportunity to try. Give yourself a chance to succeed.”

It can be daunting to join the Army Reserve, but without it, Zaccaria wouldn’t have the refined leadership or communication skills, or even the experiences she’s had. Not many of her civilian counterparts can say that they have shot guns or jumped out of airplanes. It’s an opportunity like no other.