A black eye, temporary deafness and three days with no sleep are just part of the learning experience for Majel Savage, a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S Army heading to Kuwait later this month.
"It's been one hell of a road" that's the description Savage has of her preparations to deploy to Kuwait as head of a platoon of U.S. Army military police.
Savage, 24, will head overseas as part of the 37th infantry brigade combat team, part of the Ohio National Guard, for service in Kuwait.
Majel is the daughter of Justin Savage, of Norwalk.
As a woman, Savage has faced extra challenges as she was put in charge of training a platoon of men to face combat. She said the closest women can get to the front lines is as medics or military police. She choose military police.
She started her Army career as an ROTC student at the University of Toledo, where she earned a bachelor degree is exercise science last May. Then she signed on as military police and attended officer training.
"It was rough at first, but you just have to do the right thing," she said of her service.
As she gets ready to head overseas, Savage is learning to handle the adjustments that come in the military.
"We're nine days from leaving and I get a mission change," she said. After training a platoon of 38 soldiers for three months, Savage was told she was being transferred to head another platoon.
"There was a change in mission," she said. Savage will be in charge of a sector in Kuwait with 30 soldiers under her command as military police. So now she's got to lead a new group and will watch her former command deploy without her.
"I've formed a bond with these guys," she said of her former platoon. "They're the best platoon in the company and they're ready to go."
Savage said she got a "hodge-podge" of recruits to train for her first platoon "mechanics, cooks, infantry and engineers." The platoon became an effective unit through training, she said.
When she spoke to the Reflector recently, Savage said most of her original platoon hadn't been informed of the change in orders.
"My gunner caught a whiff of the possible change and it brought tears to his eyes," she said. She had the same reaction.
"When you get put into a unit and know you're going to war with them, you form a bond," Savage said. "Now I'm not going to be able to actually take them in."
But Savage is still looking forward to serving her country.
"I'm still going to Kuwait, I'm just on a different mission," Savage said. She will now supervise about 30 soldiers, but can not give any more details about her mission. Her original mission was convoy security.
Both Savage and her new platoon will get time to spend with family and friends before their deployment. After a short leave, they will return to their training grounds at Fort Hood, Texas for a ceremony to honor the first time the 37th has been mobilized since World War II.
Savage revealed part of her plans for her leave in an e-mail to her father.
"I'm extremely excited to put on a pair of jeans, let my hair down and BE A GIRL!," she wrote.
Then she'll step back into uniform and do her duty for the next five years. Her initial deployment is scheduled for one year and she will serve another four to fulfill her obligation to ROTC. Savage started fulfilling her five-year commitment to the U.S. Army in Fort Knox, Ky. and then served as cadre of a leadership training camp to mentor young people considering ROTC.
Savage also attended two leadership training courses to prepare her for her role as a military police officer.