Though sometimes rollergirls are likened to heroes, The Atlanta Rollergirls are honored to have true heroes among our ranks–those that have served our country in the military. As Veterans Day approaches next week, we spoke with them about their service.
Rosie Derivator is not just an amazing skater, she is also one smart lady. She held one of the hardest jobs in the military. And we find it pretty reassuring to be in a wall with someone who knows the ins and outs of nuclear propulsion.
What branch of the service were you in? Navy
How did you choose which branch you wanted to be in? This is actually one of a couple of really pig-headed stories that involve me and the service. My main decision was made partly because only the Army and Navy recruiters were in their offices that day, the Army recruiter had a severe dislike for women and the Navy recruiter treated me like I was an idiot, so I felt like I had something to prove. In hindsight, the job I was offered was boasted as one of the hardest in the military, and I wanted something that would challenge me and give me the most training possible.
What made you decide to enlist? I have a family history of military service and was unsure about what I wanted to do with my life, so I used it as a means of training and discipline, as well as education and travel, until I decided on my future.
What was your job/assignment? Nuclear Trained Machinest Mate, occasionally referred to as an MMN.
How long were you in the service? 9 years
What were some of the interesting places you were stationed? I was only ever stationed in Charlestion, SC, Norfolk, VA and Kings Bay, GA, but during deployments I’ve been all over the world: Dubai, Cannes, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Pusan, Hong Kong
What were some of your most memorable experiences? Besides just amazing port calls, one of which included a giant arcade where we rode an indoor roller coaster, I had my first snowboarding lesson on a man-made mountain inside a mall in Dubai, and jumped off the side of the aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf… as well as just the day to day operation of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier!
How does your military service help you as a rollergirl? Besides bringing me to the city that started my roller derby career and giving me my first little bit of athletic training and discipline, one of the biggest things that I think the Navy gave me was respect for authority. I find myself naturally giving that respect to my referees and coaches.
We know her as Brick now, but not long ago she was Sgt. Walls! Brick holds the military close to her heart. This is not just because her husband is still serving, but also because they have lost friends who served among them.
What branch of the service were you in? Army
How did you choose which branch you wanted to be in? I had more job options to choose from enlisting into the Army.
What made you decide to enlist? I was seventeen years old when I enlisted into the Army; I wanted to serve my country because of the Gulf War, to travel the world and help pay for college education.
How long were you in the service? 13 years
What were some of your most memorable experiences? Training soldiers and helping soldiers reach personal and physical fitness goals. Meeting other people from all parts of the world, and seeing places I would have never thought I would see.
How does your military service help you as a rollergirl? The military always pushed me mentally and physically. When I was out of the military I didn’t know how badly I missed it until I found roller derby. In the military, we take care of each other, watch each other’s back, help and support each other. I found this to be true in roller derby. I broke it down to this, Battalion= ARG as a whole, Company=ARG home teams, Platoon= Roster Players, and Squad= your wall . Just like in the Army, these are the women I will fight with and I will protect. HOOAH!!
Rollermonkey (who is also Scout SnipeHer‘s husband) has been a huge asset to the Atlanta Rollergirls, volunteering in so many aspects. Even more impressive is that he is a Marine, and he’s still serving in the Army Reserve.
What branch of the service were you in? Active Duty USMC and US Army Reserve (currently still in the Army Reserve).
How did you choose which branch you wanted to be in? I chose the USMC because they have the reputation of being the best.
What made you decide to enlist? I wanted to do something different in my life, and I am a very patriotic person.
What was your job/assignment? In the USMC, I was with a Light Armored Reconnaissance unit, then was an Instructor at the School of Infantry. In the Army Reserve, I am in a Psychological Operations unit.
How long were you in the service? 8 years in the USMC, and now 6 years in the Army Reserve.
What were some of the interesting places you were stationed? I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA, but have been to many locations around the globe. The list includes: Hawaii, Okinawa, Singapore, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kenya, Somalia, and Australia.
What were some of your most memorable experiences? The places that will stick with me the most are Somalia (1st time I was ever involved in combat) and Australia (The people are super nice there and very welcoming).
Do you see similarities in the atmosphere of ARG and the military? I think the biggest similarity is the camaraderie and team focus that is developed because of spending so much time training together.