A Limerick woman who served in the U.S. army for over a decade was inspired to join the military after watching 'Private Benjamin’.
Staff Sgt. Lorraine Naranjo, a native of Co, Limerick, spoke to Dvids.com about the pride she feels when she wears the U.S. military uniform.
Remembering her childhood days in Ireland as a “young lass,” the Irish immigrant was inspired when she watched Goldie Hawn join the U.S. Army in the 1980s cult classic.
“When I saw the movie 'Private Benjamin,' I decided I wanted to be a soldier and I went to a recruiter in Ireland and they told me women are not allowed to serve,” Naranjo recalls. “So I came here and fulfilled my dreams.”
She immigrated to the U.S. 16 years ago and five years into her new life here she decided to joined the army.
Naranjo served six years active duty before she moved to the army reserve. For the past five years she has worked as a supply technician for the Equipment Concentration Site on Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
“I love my job. I couldn’t have asked for a better position,” Naranjo said.
A noncommissioned officer, Naranjo is responsible for making sure enlisted soldiers in her charge meet Army standards of training and fitness.
Even after well over a decade of living in the U.S., Naranjo says she hasn’t lost her Irish accent.
“Just in two weeks with my soldiers, they have already been commenting about my accent, the way I don’t pronounce the ‘th’ sound, but at least it makes them laugh so it’s good for morale,” Naranjo said.
The Irish immigrant, who came to the U.S. with a sixth-grade education and has since obtained a college degree, is grateful for the opportunities America has offered.
“Bottom line is, I am happy where I am,” Naranjo said. “Had I stayed where I was, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am now.”