Maria Imamura

Shelby PalmerVeteran Gallery

I am from Buffalo, NY. I joined the Army for love of country. A little background: My father is first generation American. My grandmother ran to the US from Europe after WW2 when she was freed by American Soldiers. My mother was born in Germany to German mother and American Soldier father. My father was in the Air Force when he met my mother. After 9/11 happened, I decided to postpone my plans for college and enlist. I served in OIF, OEF, and MFO. I joined as an Engineer 12C, I met my husband in my first unit and we married. Due to the limited areas I could be assigned as a 12C, I reclassed to 42A. Feb 1st 2019 marked 11years of marriage. We also have 4 and 8 year old. I chose to separate to spend more time with our kids, but also because I did not enjoy being a 42A. The Army helped me realize I enjoyed hard work and working with my hands. I decided not to complete my college degree in International Languages but to learn a trade because I knew it would be  a smoother transition, but also I know how happy I am working with my hands. While completing SFL TAP I learned of the VIP program. I have always been interested in welding and chose to go that route. I thoroughly enjoy everything I have learned through the program. I also enjoy being able to see a final product once my work is complete. Pipefitter welders must be able to critically think, have math skills, strength, endurance, yet they must be relaxed, focused and have finesse to insure a good weld. There are not many women in the trade, not because it’s hard for us to get in the trade, but because it takes a certain kind of person to do this work.

Maria Imamura, SGT, Army Veteran