The military was the better part of Audry’s life for two decades. She’s an Air Force combat vet who’s flown challenging missions in wartime environments. But she credits the simple, sweet love of a rescue dog with bringing her back to terra firma.
Her military career began back in 1995.
“I was enlisted for my first 10 years, five driving refueling trucks at Davis Monthan Air Force Base (AFB) and five with the Virginian Air National Guard as an F-16 (Viper) Crew Chief/Jet Mechanic,” Audry told Pets for Patriots’ Wet Nose Blog.
Audry completed her Bachelors degree and, in 2007, commissioned through ROTC at the University of Virginia. Since 2008 she has been an Air Weapons Officer/13B, part of an elite team of specialists expert in the complexities of what the Air Force calls “integrated battle-space dominance.”
“My most memorable experience thus far in my military career was getting to fly in the back seat of one of my Aggressor Squadron’s F-15’s. It was an exciting experience doing ACM – dog fighting – over the Nellis ranges with the guys I controlled every day,” Audry shares. “I LOVED being an Aggressor controller – better known as Baron control – and was very fortunate to get the opportunity to partake in a sortie with my guys before I PCS’d (Permanent Change of Station) to South Korea.”
Baron controllers, or Aggressors, work closely with combat pilots to understand enemy aerial battle tactics and train other airmen how to defeat them.
As part of her military service Audry deployed to many of the most inhospitable places in the world. She has flown combat missions during the war in Afghanistan.
“I’ve deployed to Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, [and] Egypt,” she shares, “and have flown over 200 combat hours in Afghanistan. It’s been a crazy, yet life changing 20+ years.”
These days, however, Audry serves as Mission Crew Commander, ensuring the training and readiness of crew members, supervising mission specific training, and advising other Air Force commanders. And a life spent more on the ground affords her a simple pleasure she couldn’t enjoy during her career’s peak air time: the love of a dog.
“I chose adoption over a breeder because I wanted to give a dog that was thrown to the curb the chance at a loving and fun life,” she explains. “Too many pets end up in shelters and SPCA’s, and they need loving homes. I ALWAYS choose adoption.”
To find her new friend Audry visited the Virginia Beach SPCA, a Pets for Patriots adoption and veterinary partner near her home. P4P affords vets a 25 percent discount in adoption fees and access to low-cost veterinary care when they adopt an eligible dog or cat.
Audry found her match in a six-month-old, 53-pound mixed breed she named Roxy, who was a hit with Audry’s husband and father-in-law. They all live together in Virginia Beach.
“When I’m not on military travel, I spend most of my days walking Roxy on the beach with my husband, letting Roxy play at the local dog park with all of her fur friends and chilling on our porch watching the ocean,” she shares.
“Roxy has been the very blessing my husband and I needed,” she says. “Both of us went through painful divorces [and] were forced to start our lives over, and wanted a puppy to complete our new family. In Roxy we found such a loving and innocent soul. She keeps us busy laughing, playing, and cuddling. She’s amazing.”