Duty Station: Pentagon
Number of Deployments: 4
Number of PCS's: 9
Share your military spouse story:
I was fresh out of college when I moved from Pennsylvania to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma with my boyfriend at the time. To say it was culture shock, is an understatement. We thought he was going to do the time he owed and then be done. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 happened 2 years later and my husband deployed to OIF 1 shortly after. This totally changed his trajectory in the Army and therefore mine. I have a Master's degree and was trying to balance a career with the demands of the Army on my spouse. We added in 4 kids along the way and that balancing act became a lot more unbalanced. I took time off of my career and started volunteering initially with my kids schools and the local spouses club. After a while I felt like I needed to use my skills and so something more with my time and I started volunteering with an organization called Task Force Antal helping people stuck in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal. We are about to embark on our 10th PCS and having something meaningful that is portable is extremely important to me.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I have been the parliamentarian of the West Point Community Spouses Club, The Parliamentarian and the President of the Community and Spouses Club of Bavaria. I was the Team Red, White and Blue, CrossFit liaison at Ft. Wainwright, AK.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
My involvement in the military community is varied depending on numerous life factors. When i was swimming in small kids i usually volunteered at school, in classrooms and youth sports. As they got older and more self sufficient, I transitioned to more time in the community with spouses clubs and outside military organizations.
Describe how you support your community:
I typically support my local community through attending events and mentorship of younger spouses. I support youth sports and community programs, as well as school events and spouses club events. I support the overall military community through advocacy for families of Service Members in Afghanistan as well as promoting remote work and volunteer positions for military spouses.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I initially started volunteering because numerous friends of ours had interpreters stuck in Afghanistan and I wanted to help. As I became more entrenched in Task Force Antal, I realized we were helping the families of US service members stuck in Afghanistan and the military families became my top priority. Some of these families are being hunted by the Taliban simply because they are related to a US service member. More than a year later we are still caring and advocating for these family members while keeping some in safe houses so they are not killed by the Taliban. I communicate with the State Department, and pass along information to the service members about any policy changes, flight manifests, personnel moves, etc on a weekly basis. I also help fundraise for Task Force Antal to help support the families in Afghanistan to relieve the financial burden on the service members. A visa application is over $500 which most of these soldiers and their families do not have.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I have communicated most of this via social media and speaking to others about this cause. Most people do not even know this is an issue or that people are in danger just because they are related to a US service member. Through our advocacy there has been a visa exception to policy made by the White House and I would like to continue making this type of progress.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
more awareness and hopefully funding for these service members and their families. The best possible outcome would be to use my voice to get them all out of Afghanistan and safely away from the Taliban.
Amanda has volunteered 100s of hours advocating for service member's families that are stuck in Afghanistan. Over 180 immediate family members of US service people are still trapped in Afghanistan since August 2021. Amanda volunteers with an organization called Task Force Antal, part of the AfghanEvac coalition to keep them safe until they can get out of Afghanistan. She advocates for families, communicates with the service members on a regular basis and helps fundraise to pay for the costs of safe houses and visas for the families. She has been involved in her community at every duty station and has held several leadership positions. The work we do would not be possible without her and the numerous military members she works with are thankful for the hours she puts in on their behalf.
- by Christine Antal