BRIDGE CITY, Texas — Bridge City mother of two Dawn Ferrell was only 17-years-old when she decided to join the U.S. Air Force. The Dallas native had just graduated high school, and needed her parent's signature before she could head to boot camp.
While in boot camp, Ferrell specialized as a military police officer.
"What we did is we patrolled stations. I transported prisoners. The deployments I went on were very dangerous," said Ferrell.
During her 12 year career and three deployments, Ferrell had ups and downs. Including the death of her daughter. Despite her trials, she made countless friends along the way.
"My first daughter passed while i was in. She had a heart problem. A year later I got pregnant with my second oldest. When we were in the hospital my whole unit was there."
Ferrell told 12News that her daughters, 19-year-old Emily and 13-year-old Kimber, are the reason she retired in 2012. Being away from her family was the hardest part of deployment, according to Ferrell.
"I actually have a picture of me coming home from one deployment. They've got a big banner and she's got a sign she's holding saying I love you mommy."
Now that she is back at home, Ferrell tells 12News that she often reflects on her comrades who were not as lucky.
"We had a female soldier that was killed while I was in. Her name was Elizabeth and she was killed by an IUD. As a women that was in the military, I do want to recognize her."
Throughout her career, Ferrell faced challenges as a woman in her field, which was predominantly male. Despite this, Ferrell told 12News that she did not let it get in her way, and always strived to be the best.
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