NORFOLK — Yeoman Second Class Denisse Gallardo returned to Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL) following a nine month Individual Augmentee (IA) tour. “I was actually gone for 12 months because I had to go through about three months of training before I actually deployed,” said Gallardo.
Originally from North Hollywood, CA, Gallardo checked on board CSFTL in 2007. Her name was submitted for consideration as an IA in early 2009. “I always knew that there was a possibility that I would have to go so I just made up my mind to make the best of it.”
During Gallardo’s IA, she spent time at both Camp Bucca in Southern Iraq and at Camp Proper in Baghdad. “When I first arrived, I was involved in detainee operations. Once I moved on to Camp Cropper, I had the opportunity to become the Leading Petty Officer of the Administrative Department,” said Gallardo.
Gallardo was recognized for all her hard work and dedication when she was selected as Camp Cropper Junior Sailor of the Quarter for 1st Quarter 2010. She was also awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
When asked what the best thing was that came out of her time as an IA, Gallardo said that it was a big personal accomplishment. “I did things that I did not know I was capable of.” The worst thing, she said, was missing her son’s 4th birthday.
Her advice to Sailors who may be apprehensive about going on an IA, “You just have to roll with it. Having a positive attitude will only make it better and just do your best.”