DOUBLE DUTY SUITS HER FINE
She doesnt exactly change from her ordinary office work attire to a Wonder Woman suit.
But Katie Shaw does do a transformation of sorts one weekend a
Thats when the secretary in the
La Grande city managers office dons her mottled green and brown battle dress uniform known more commonly as camouflage fatigues and heads for the National Guard Armory on 12th Street.
Miss Shaw becomes Pvt. Shaw, working in the headquarters to the Third Battalion, 116th Cavalry (Armor) office in the La Grande building.
Besides such things as drilling and going to Camp Rilea near Seaside for weekend rifle competition, she works on the computer system that retains personnel information.
At Fort Jackson, S.C., following basic training in Missouri, I received advanced training to become a personnel systems maintenance specialist, Shaw said one day recently in her office on the second floor of City Hall.
For the city, her duties involve working with City Manager Wes Hare, City Recorder Sandy Lund, city councilors, other city officials and staff and for the citizens of La Grande.
Katie is the mistress of multitasking, Lund said.
Shaw helps prepare packets of information for the councilors before meetings, prepares minutes of the meetings, does conference scheduling for the councilors, serves as Webmaster for the citys Internet site at www.ci.la-grande.or.us and is on the front line of answering the phone to the managers office.
Shaw, 22 and single, is the daughter of Tom and Diane Deal of Imbler and has worked for the city since April 1, 2000. She was born in Puyallup, Wash., and moved to Imbler when she was 12. Shes a 1998 graduate of Imbler High School.
She decided around October 2000 to join the National Guard.
Im a patriot and wanted to serve my country. But I also saw it as a financial means for paying for my schooling, she said.
She took a leave of absence from her city job for the more rigorous duties of training to become a soldier.
She said the Montgomery GI Bill will pay for her tuition when she decides to further her education.
Getting a degree will be a long process, she said, since she will have to take classes in my spare time. Ill have to work things around my work schedule. Id like to start by taking a couple of classes during the fall term at Eastern Oregon University.
She wants to get a bachelors degree in business and would eventually like to get a masters in business administration, which Eastern now offers.
And then theres the Army National Guard, which takes up one weekend a month, not all spent at the La Grande site.
She went through her nine weeks of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., a two-hour drive east of St. Louis. Before leaving home, she had done a lot of running to get herself into good physical condition.
There were 60 people in our platoon, both regular Army recruits and National Guard.
We ran, did basic rifle marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and training in use of weapons. There was a lot of obstacle course running, road marches, training in grenade use, mostly for accuracy and distance.
We bivouacked four four days and three nights for field training.
Being a female was not a problem, she said. There were 28 women among the 60 people in her platoon. Women occupied the first floor of a three-story barracks, the men the upper two floors.
Training with men was fine. The Guard frowns upon fraternization between men and women at boot camp. We were allowed to speak to them only during training sessions, but still you could become friends with some.
Boot camp didnt involve a lot of free time, she said.
There was no R&R away from the large camp, not even on weekends, Shaw said.
When she left boot camp, she was put on a bus to go to Fort Jackson for the training in computer work, she said.
Now shes back at her desk in City Hall five days a week, wiser and more mature, say those who work with her.
Katies five months in the military gave new significance to the phrase, You dont know what you have until youve lost it, City Recorder Lund said. I dont mean to imply we take her for granted when shes here. But we really just got by while she was gone.
We pride ourselves on a high level of service to the city manager, the council, staff and the citizens, but we werent able to consistently maintain those levels in her absence.
Shaw has no regrets about joining the Guard, although she said she didnt do too well in the recent rifle competition.
Overall, she said, its been a good