From Boots to Bylines: Cheryl Chumley’s Army to Journalism Journey

NRB | May 21, 2024 | Member News

In recognition of Military Appreciation Month, Cheryl Chumley, a prominent author and online opinion editor for The Washington Times, shared insights gleaned from her service in the U.S. Army and Air Guard, providing a unique perspective on national defense, individual liberties, and the transition from military to civilian life.

An English major with a focus on writing, her career aspirations leaned towards journalism, yet her decision to enlist was driven by a combination of economic necessity and personal patriotism. Beginning in 1991, she fulfilled the Army’s standard 8-year enlistment obligation.

“I had student loans to pay off and the military offered a lot of benefits that I could use at the time,” Chumley said. “And I love my country, so it was a natural fit.”

When she enlisted, her home state of Massachusetts had reduced recruitment requirements to a 2-year active enlistment, followed by 6 years of inactive duty. For her military occupational specialty (MOS), she sought something entirely unfamiliar. For her first year of active duty, Chumley worked as a vehicle mechanic at the K-16 Air Force Base in South Korea, where she had ample opportunities to engage with the local community.

“It was just eye-opening to get out of America, away from the American culture, and get into a country where it was very family-oriented and where their definition of rich and prosperous [was] completely different from Americans,” Chumley reflected.

She served her second year of active duty at Fort Stewart, Ga. Following her military service, Cheryl continued working as a diesel mechanic. However, her determination ultimately led her to journalism. During her six years of inactive reserve service, she joined the Air Guard under the U.S. Air Force in Indiana, serving in the public relations department.

At the PR office, a book listing all media outlets in Indiana caught her attention. She took the book home and sent resumes and letters of interest to approximately 200 outlets. A small newspaper in Georgia responded, providing her with her initial opportunity in journalism.

Cheryl underscored the profound impact military service had on her appreciation for constitutional freedoms and individual liberties, emphasizing the importance of upholding these fundamental rights, both within and outside the military.

“Being in the military definitely gives me first and foremost a grateful spirit of what America has and really takes for granted,” Chumley said.  “We’re born into freedom. Other people of the world don’t have the concept of God-given liberties.”

“We have so many people who love this country, men and women who dream of growing up and joining the military,” Chumley continued. “It’s your responsibility, your duty as an American citizen and as an American patriot to preserve and protect the concept of God-given freedoms.”

Military service provided her with a sympathy for the challenges faced by America’s armed forces, particularly the mental struggles. “You don’t understand until you join the military that one of the biggest drawbacks to joining is boredom,” Chumley noted.

Cheryl noted that the transition from military service to civilian life presents unique challenges for veterans, varying based on their military occupational specialties and personal experiences. Cheryl acknowledges the adjustment required, particularly in navigating the shift from a structured military environment to civilian roles.

In her personal life, Chumley remains attentive to veteran and military news, policies that impact the military, and holding Memorial Day and Veterans Day in high regard. Chumley, a mother of three adult children and one teenager, ensures her family understands the significance of honoring these holidays and discussing the sacrifices made by countless heroes for their country.

As Cheryl looks to the future, she remains committed to advocating for veterans’ rights and addressing pertinent issues in military affairs. Through her journalism and commentary, Cheryl aims to shed light on critical issues within the military and honor the sacrifices of those who serve.

In addition to writing several books as well as daily commentaries on politics, Cheryl hosts a twice-weekly podcast “Bold and Blunt,” available on Spotify, Apple, other podcast sites, and The Washington Times by clicking here.

Chumley is an in-demand public speaker and media guest whose publication credits include The Blaze, The Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, the Heritage Foundation, and more. She has made hundreds of appearances on national and local television and radio (including Fox News, C-SPAN, CBN, and Newsmax TV), and in person at various forums and events, including the NRB Convention. Chumley has been an NRB member since 2023.

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