Master Sergeant Nita Simmons, U.S. Army
My name is Chhamboni (Nita) Simmons I am a first generation Cambodian refugee. My family and I were very fortunate and blessed to be able to immigrate to the United States after fleeing Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge Regime. My father served as a Commander for the Cambodian Army and my uncle was a 3-Star General. Their roles in the Cambodian Army were vital for the safe departure of my family to the United States.
Through my transition to become a U.S. Citizen, I earned many achievements and honors. I wanted my parents to know that I would do my best to please them for giving us an opportunity to excel, for establishing a loving home without fear of death, providing us with food, shelter and a chance to live a dream. I stayed very active and was involved in sports, clubs, honor roll, made the Principles List and earned the American Legion Award.
In 1992, I decided that I wanted the ability to travel the world, and challenge myself both mentally and physically, so I decided to join the US Army. I chose to be a Light Wheel Vehicle Mechanic, not my first choice but I was told that I only had three options; a cook, petroleum supply specialist, or mechanic. I completed basic training and my military occupancy specialty training at Fort Jackson, SC.
Currently, I serve as a Brigade Senior Maintenance Supervisor, Sexual Harassment /Assault Response Program Coordinator (SHARP), and the Equal Opportunity Leader. I will be retiring this Fall, with a total of over 24 years of service. I have been married to my wonderful, supportive husband for 22 years and we have two beautiful children, and a loyal Maltese. During my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, and do arts and crafts.
I serve for my family and country. The Army provides the learning of cross culture communication and awareness due to deployments, peacekeeping missions, and representing our force in many different countries while being exposed to many cultures which has provided a positive impact to our Nation. One of my favorite memories of being in the military is when I had the opportunity of getting baptized in the Euphrates River while deployed in Iraq. After serving 23 years, I have served on four deployments, been to eight countries, and resided in five states. I can truly say that I have experienced a wealth of knowledge with the ability to accomplish many challenges.
I would like to be remembered for being a female refugee who has made strides and broke through barriers to attain a successful career despite being in a predominately male occupation. I want my legacy to be an impact for all Soldiers who face opportunity gaps and organizational barriers to strive to build a better future where everyone can be praised without judgement, and not to settle for what is given, but to reach for higher goals and aspirations. I am very thankful and blessed to know that my parents provided an opportunity for me to learn, grow, and provide the foundation of different cultures, and to not judge, but to learn and embrace the differences to overcome adversities and pursue the American dream.