La Shun Mosley
Veteran | 4 Years in the Army
Branch, Rank, Years of service?
Navy, E-4, 4 years of service.
What did you do in the service?
My rate in the Navy was Aircrew Survival Equipment-men, petty officer third class (PR3). I tested the purity of the oxygen for our fighter pilots. If pilots can’t breathe, they can’t fly. Besides the duties of my main job, while enlisted, I was the hazmat POIC, tools POIC, oxygen shop WCS, and I was mentorship divisional POIC. POIC is ‘petty officer in charge,’ WCS is ‘work center supervisor,’ and the Navy has divisions rather than platoons. I went on two deployments and was stationed at six different commands my short time in. This was due to a special, one-time ‘hull swap event that took place for the first and only time in naval history between 3 aircraft carriers. My other commands included PR ‘A’ school training, PR ‘C’ school training, and boot camp. I was honorably discharged from military service in December of 2017 and earned all my incentives upon service completion. I also earned my good conduct medal, air-warfare, and surface warfare pins, and I was the only sailor to meet maximum rate qualifications within my work center. I was dedicated to my service, my ship, and my shipmates.
What was the biggest reason that led you to join the military?
My grandfather, Joe Mosley JR., was my ultimate inspiration to enlist. He was enlisted in the Army until her retirement, and his service has brought honor and many opportunities to my family. Enviable with his will and ways, I knew I was destined for greatness following the road he paved while seeking to begin my own journey.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in the military?
The biggest lesson I learned in the military was the value of the strength of my resiliency and the value of self-love. Having faced and triumphed many challenges in my young life, it all started with facing my fears in boot camp. As a Black kid from Colorado who knew basketball better than anything, I dreaded the swim test, which was needed to graduate Navy boot camp. It happened in the third phase of training, about five weeks in. We were marched as a division down to the Olympic-sized pool located in the water survival facility. It took me 11 tries to pass, but I never gave up. I went back to the water survival facility every day until I was able to pass the swimming test. After passing it, I felt on top of the world! Passing gave my insight to realize that although I would often have everything against me in life, the strength of my resiliency is unparalleled by any challenge. From that moment, I believed in myself more than I ever had before. I valued the strength of my resiliency that much more and learned what it meant to love and believe in me, despite circumstances.
Has the military made you a better person?
I believe the military has made me an exceptional person. My military experience has molded my understanding of the world. I had the opportunity to see things, cultures, places, and people that I would’ve only seen on television had I never joined. I truly broadened my horizons and broke out of the box designed to keep dreams from evolving into a reality.
What area of your life has the military helped you grow the most in?
The military allowed me to grow most by expanding my education. I know how to work machines I would’ve never known existed had I not enlisted. I had the opportunity to earn my degree for free and took full advantage. Being a kid from Park Hill, no one talked to us about college opportunities or education advancement. The military gave me growth in education by attending college, graduating debt-free, and raising the expectations of my life goals.
What is your perspective of patriotism?
My perspective of patriotism is that it should be determined and valued in how we treat each other and how we value and teach future generations. To me, a patriot is someone who takes care of, protects, and respects their fellow Americans, despite what differences there may be. Someone who is trauma-informed and sensitive to the privileges others may not have and understands the privileges they may have. Someone who is aware of our nation’s true history and is active in their role of seeing that we become better as people. Someone with faith in humanity. Someone who embraces, guides, and mentors our youth to help them grow and be better people, living in a better world.
What was your experience transitioning from active duty to civilian life?
My transition back to civilian life was extremely challenging. It was one of those points in my life that I had to reiterate to myself the value of self-love and the strength of my resiliency. With my educational endeavors, all was well. It was in my personal and professional life that I found myself greatly troubled. I went through a very challenging time where I lost myself and almost lost my life. Thankfully, my family was there to pick me up when I was at my lowest.
What do you do, post active duty?
These days, I am a Residential Counselor II with the Mental Health Center of Denver. I was an intern here before being hired full-time. I am currently seeking employment with the Colorado Springs Police Department. My ultimate goal is to become a homicide detective. I have always been an analytical person, seeking to help others, and solve problems. Also, I believe strongly that in order to see change, we must be the change. I want to be in a position to ensure the safety of others is a priority and that everyone is treated fairly.
What advice would you give to others transitioning into civilian life?
I would tell my fellow veterans to know that there is life after the military. I would encourage them to use their benefits and resources at the VA or anywhere that helps to transition service members. I would encourage them to give feedback to those supplying the resources and services to be better equipped to understand how they can be better at serving the modern veteran.
What are things that people should consider before they decide to serve their country?
I would encourage people to consider what it is they want to do prior to enlistment. No one will ever have life completely figured out, but to come with no plan is simply a recipe for disaster! I was blessed to have my grandfather and a support system to help me with the enlistment process. I wasn’t handed any job and contract. I elected to do something I enjoyed, and that gave me more opportunities. When enlisting, one is essentially signing their life away, be mindful, flexible, and understand what may come with that.