Lieutenant Misty Evans thought joining the Army Reserve as a 17-year-old might give her some extra cash and a chance to explore the country.
Twenty-three years on, she has a university degree, three children and a rewarding job as a child-safety officer, all while carving out a flexible part-time career in the Army that has allowed her to inspire others to challenge themselves.
Growing up in the town of Byfield in Queensland, she said she watched soldiers on their way to Shoalwater Bay Training Area and imagined herself getting involved as soon as she was old enough.
“I had family who had served in the military, so joining the Army Reserve wasn’t an unfamiliar concept – but I didn’t think I would end up commissioning and serving as an officer,” Lieutenant Evans said.
“The challenges kept on presenting themselves, and each time I just decided to give it a go, which gave me the confidence to try the next challenge.”
Starting life in the Army as a cook, she spent her early career supporting catering requirements for Army units and ADF exercises.
Transferring to work as a clerk after a few years, she volunteered to serve in border protection operations on HMA Ships Melville and Kanimbla with an Army security detachment.
Lieutenant Evans took a break from the reserves while she worked in a more remote civilian role and when her first two children were small.
During this time, she completed a Certificate IV in fitness and ran local Strongman competitions and exercises, which inspired her to restart her Army involvement in 2013 as an officer.
“It took me four years to complete my officer training and the final component through Duntroon, but that meant I could fit it in around having another baby, while still working in child safety,” she said.
“I completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2014, and am doing a Masters now while I am still employed in the Army in the infantry.
“I really think the skills and qualifications I have are complementary to my role running an intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance platoon.
“To get the best out of my team, I need to understand their motivation, drivers for success and personality types.
“Having a civilian role that works with people also, helps me with my leadership in Army.”
Lieutenant Evans said she felt very fortunate to have a leadership role in her unit, which involved supporting soldiers on the ground to do their jobs, and ensuring essential information was communicated up and down the chain of command.
“Being a platoon commander is the most rewarding role that I have held in my entire career; I am surrounded by driven, passionate individuals who are very capable soldiers,” she said.
It’s a role she hopes to continue serving in for many years.
“The Army has been an extremely flexible part-time career – when my family and I have the capacity, I volunteer with the reserves for operations and exercises such as during the recent bushfires and this year’s bilateral training exercise with the United States, Talisman Sabre,” Lieutenant Evans said.
With more than 300 jobs in the ADF spanning part-time and full-time service, many servicemen and women change roles over their careers.
To find out more about roles available, visit the Defence Jobs website.