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Guard Soldier preps for first deployment during New Horizons

U.S. Army Spc. Jordan Carter, New Horizons electrician from the Louisiana National Guard's 1023rd Vertical Engineer Company, assists with completing the roof on a new preschool building May 13, 2014, at the Hattieville Government School in Hattieville, Belize. BDF and U.S. service members are working together to build five school buildings and one medical facility in Belize during New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual event coordinated between the U.S. and the host nation to provide mutual training opportunities in the fields of health care and civil engineering. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

U.S. Army Spc. Jordan Carter, New Horizons electrician from the Louisiana National Guard's 1023rd Vertical Engineer Company, assists with completing the roof on a new preschool building May 13, 2014, at the Hattieville Government School in Hattieville, Belize. BDF and U.S. service members are working together to build five school buildings and one medical facility in Belize during New Horizons Belize 2014. New Horizons is an annual event coordinated between the U.S. and the host nation to provide mutual training opportunities in the fields of health care and civil engineering. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L. Gradishar/Released)

BELIZE CITY, Belize -- U.S. Army Spc. Jordan Carter, New Horizons electrician from the Louisiana National Guard's 1023rd Vertical Engineer Company, is on her second consecutive mission to Belize.

Carter is spending her days supporting the New Horizons Belize 2014 training exercise, an annual exercise geared toward providing mutual training opportunities for Belizean, Canadian and U.S. service members in the fields of health care and civil engineering.

The Army National Guard electrician works alongside Belize Defence Force Light Engineer Company, as well as U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine and fellow U.S. Army engineers as they construct a building for preschoolers at the Hattieville Government School in Hattieville, Belize.

"We haven't started on my job yet," she said, explaining the building was still on the structures phase, adding on the roof and placing windows. "So right now, I'm doing pretty much anything the other engineers are asking me to do, which is good because I am learning a lot."

Once the structure is finished, Carter can go to work in her specialty: running wires, putting in light fixtures and ceiling fans, and placing outlet faceplates.

Carter assisted with New Horizons Belize 2013. Both years she has benefited by getting a chance to hone her skills as an electrician while learning more about other engineering fields.

"Coming out here, I get to touch on my own field more," she said. "I feel like this is good preparation for my upcoming deployment where I'll possibly be doing the same things I'm doing here in Belize."

The electrician will soon be deploying with her unit for a nine-month rotation to Southwest Asia. It will be her first deployment.

She feels the upcoming deployment will be exciting and hopefully as rewarding as her time in Belize, she said.

"The best things about this trip are being able to help supply these kids with a new school building," Carter said, "and I'm also enjoying being able to interact with the sister services. It's fun being able to hear where they're from and what they do."

With only three years in service, Carter said she joined for the education benefits and for the experiences the military can bring.

"I'm pretty sure if I hadn't joined the Army, I never would have come to Belize," Carter said.

Her family, many of them veterans, are proud of her military endeavors.

"The majority of my family has been in the military -- all of them in the Army," she said. "Most of them think it's awesome that I'm in, and that's part of why I'm looking forward to my deployment so much.

"Sometimes they say things like 'You're trying to be like me or Granddad or your uncle,'" said the Monroe, La., native.

Outside of her Army National Guard time, Carter works at a fire and water damage restoration company; and when she's not working, she spends her time watching movies, spending time wither her family and boyfriend, or going to church.

She plans on being a medical technician when she gets out of the military, she said, and she'll start online schooling as a pharmacy technician while on deployment and complete schooling as a surgery technician after she returns from her deployment.

"Jobs in education and health aren't going anywhere," added Carter, "but whatever I do, I want to end up helping people."


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