SPRAGUE: Today is July 9, 2019, and this is an interview with Kim Galske whoserved with the Headquarters Battalion 1st Marine Division from 1996 to 2001. This interview is being conducted at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The interviewer is Luke Sprague. So Kim, where were you born?
GALSKE: I was born in 1977 in a little bitty town of Hastings, Michigan.
SPRAGUE: And what can you tell me about Hastings, Michigan?
GALSKE: Boy, Hastings, Michigan is about thirty-five minutes southeast of GrandRapids, Michigan. And it's a beautiful old little town, just exactly what you would think of in the Midwest.
SPRAGUE: And what was it like growing up there?
GALSKE: I actually grew up in Arizona. So I was born in Hastings, Michigan, andmoved to Arizona, Southern Arizona with my grandparents when I was two. 00:01:00
SPRAGUE: So then I guess the question becomes what was it like growing up in Arizona?
GALSKE: Yeah. [Laughs] Hot. [Laughs] Growing up in Arizona, my grandfather wassuch a visionary that he moved out there due to his own health issues. He had served in the National Guard as well in, Michigan and had developed arthritis. So he decided to move, him and his wife, my grandmother and their two kids, youngest kids--they had five total--out to Arizona. They stayed, the two kids came back to, Michigan because they liked it better, and as they built their property, I came out with them when I was two with my mother. So we lived on about sixty acres in south of Amado, Arizona. So it's about fifty miles north of the Mexico border. I grew up at the foothills of Madera Canyon, or 00:02:00Elephant Head, as it's called by the locals. And there's an observatory at the top of that mountain, so I basically grew up stargazing, which was really neat.
SPRAGUE: So what schools did you attend while you were there?
GALSKE: I attended Sopori Elementary School, which is in Amado, Arizona. Andit's a famous little town. It has a bull skull with huge horns. It's been in many movies. It's a pretty popular location. It's tiny. Predominantly Hispanic. And from there, oh gosh, I probably moved--with my mother I probably moved every year that I was in elementary school and middle school.
SPRAGUE: And how was that with your mother and that part of your family life?
GALSKE: My grandparents were the stability for me from birth to about00:03:00seven years old, and then my mother moved away and wanted to take over as Mom, and we moved to Tucson, which is another thirty-five minutes or so north of Amado. And we lived in and out of not the best places, to put it nicely. I was a latchkey kid; I'll say that right up front. She did the best she could with what she knew. So I love her to this day, love her dearly. She's my mom, and she only knew what she knew. So it was a rough, a very rough childhood. We moved from low-income apartments to trailer parks to junkyard living out of trailers to Arizona, California, Texas, back and forth, back, and forth. She was 00:04:00in a bit of a volatile relationship. And the reason I say all of this is because it was my formative years, so everything, now, reflecting back, I'm thankful that we went through those things because it gave me a whole new appreciation, and it also definitely gave me the reason to not live that way. That fire in my belly to always do more, do better, that there's a bigger world out there, that you don't have to stay where you were, you don't have to be a product of your environment.
So, I grew up raising myself a lot of the times. My brother was born when I wasten, so I became instant babysitter. God love my mother, she went back to college while she was pregnant with Tyler, my brother, and I became the secondary mom while she finished college. I can remember helping her do her college studies, reading off definitions. And she was going to school 00:05:00to be a registered dental assistant. So that was no small feat as a single mom with two kids. So later on, she had ended up marrying my brother's dad, and we moved to California a few times. And in that time, we would pass military bases. When I lived in Tucson, I lived across the street from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. And so, during the first Gulf War, I was pretty young, I was eleven years old, and I was watching those big bombers fly over my house. I can remember standing on the roof and you could feel the vibration from those big planes going overhead and being able to see the pilots, almost look right at them when they would fly over, and you know, really understanding what war meant. I went to Mansfield Middle School, which is in downtown Tucson.
It was right across the street from the University of Arizona. A00:06:00beautiful old building. I was bullied terribly in middle school. So to understand, like I said, it's predominantly Hispanic. I am not Hispanic. So one of these kids doesn't look like the other. Although I do have dark hair and dark skin, I am not Hispanic. So it was really hard to fit in. It was during a time when gangs were really big, Latinas, Latino gangs were really big, Bloods and Crips, that was early nineties. And I had to ride the city bus to school. We didn't have a bus system and there's no protection on a city bus system. So between moving a lot, never going to the same school twice, being in a little bit of an abusive relationship my step-dad at the time was highly 00:07:00abusive, verbally, only a couple times physically with myself and my mother. But we moved a lot. He was in the construction field, so we moved extensively. And that's why I never went to the same school twice. Hard to make friends, certainly.
But the one constant was being able to come back and visit my grandparents. Somy grandfather and I were very, very close. Very close. It's kind of a joke now, we laugh about it, but when my mother had me, she wasn't sure that she could be a mom at nineteen, and she said, "I might give Kim up for adoption."
SPRAGUE: What was your grandfather and grandmother's name?
GALSKE: My grandfather's name was Donald Burt Dytes [??], and my grandmother'sname is Greta May McClellan was her maiden name, Dytes is her married 00:08:00name. They were a Dutch Irish couple. [Laughter]
SPRAGUE: So, you're growing up in this situation. What did at fourteen-years-oldmade you want to become a Marine? What did you see in that? You saw the planes flying overhead and taking off, but you decided--what pulled you to the Marine Corps?
GALSKE: Funny enough right across the street by the University of Arizona, whatbetter place to have a recruiting office? When you're when you're dealing with--the high school is down the road, the middle school, and then you have the college scene. And at the time, in the eighties and the early nineties, that was a good time to join the military for a career. It wasn't always an out, it was an actual career. And with that, I was fourteen going on nineteen, because I had seen a lot. I'd been through a lot. I raised myself. I raised my 00:09:00brother. So I knew too much at fourteen, and I knew a lot of the guys because it was predominantly male then, the military, and they were all Marines. And I just remember them always being so kind. They were instant brothers. They were just really good friends and I always felt like it was an extended family. And so at fourteen, I knew that that was what I was going to do. I was going to join the Marine Corps.
SPRAGUE: So when you joined how did you enlist and how did that come about?
GALSKE: That's a great story, too. when I was fourteen--here's the biggest part,the biggest fork in the road that came in my life. At fourteen, I met my real dad. Up until this point, I didn't know my real father. I persuaded 00:10:00my mother to help me find him, and we did. I was fourteen. It was the summer of my eighth grade year going into my freshman year of high school, and we found him. He was in the exact same place. He was in Hastings, Michigan [laughs] from where I was born, so thank goodness my dad is not a wanderlust kind of person. His name is Michael Dalman, and as far as what I've heard, it took him three weeks to open up the letter that I sent him. Back then you actually wrote handwritten letters [laughs] before internet, before--I mean really before the masses had internet or computers or cellphones, we wrote letters. And gosh, this is the first time that I've actually felt older. [Laughs] But it took him three weeks to open up the letter because he couldn't believe that I had actually written to him. And I later on found out that my stepdad was actually 00:11:00intercepting letters that he had been writing to me, my whole life.
So my dad took it as I wasn't interested in seeing him, so when he finally got aletter from me, he was in disbelief that I was really willing and able to talk to him. So of course once we were able to get on the phone and have a chat, he flew me out to, Michigan and I didn't come back to Arizona. We had such a great connection. I was only there for three days.
GALSKE: Yeah, we had such a great connection. I think we were just so overjoyedto meet each other. We look exactly the same and to understand that as the listener, my mother is very Dutch. She's blonde with blue eyes, fair skin, and I was always the little girl who was dark-haired, dark-eyed, dark-skinned. I thought, "Where do I fit into all of this?" So to meet my dad was 00:12:00like looking in the mirror. He is Cherokee Indian, with some other things sprinkled in. I finally figured out, "These are my people." That was kind of my reaction when I met him. And so I asked, and I'm sure that was the hardest decision my mother ever made, was saying, "Okay," and letting go of her only daughter to go back to school, to go to high school in, Michigan, because I just felt like I would get a better education there, that the opportunities for me in, Michigan would be much, much better than it would be if I stayed in Arizona, where I was being bullied and chased home and just really had no self-esteem.
SPRAGUE: Where was that in, Michigan, again? Just out of curiosity.
GALSKE: Sure. I went to high school in Grandville, Michigan and moved there in'92. And I move their three weeks before school started, so I was definitely the new girl at school. As in most schools that you go to, especially in 00:13:00the Midwest, people don't move a lot. And so you're going to high school with people that you've gone to grade school with. And here I was the new girl, moving into a Dutch community. So here we are again with blonde hair and blue eyes and everybody has the Vander, Vander last name, Van this and Van that, and a lot of Dutch-Christian Reformed students. But I was welcomed. I played basketball in middle school. I was actually very good at it. At the time, I was the tallest. So I was a center in eighth grade and quickly became a guard as a freshman in high school because I stopped growing [laughs] at five-five. In eighth grade, I was the tallest and then as you're in freshman in high school, you are certainly not, at five-five going to be a forward on the basketball team. So I started out really meeting my first students, or fellow students at basketball practice, in 1992, in Grandville, Michigan. 00:14:00
SPRAGUE: So you're in high school in Grandville, Michigan. Tell me more aboutthat. How does that go?
GALSKE: Sure. So, the question before was, "How did you meet your recruiter andgo into the service?" Right?
GALSKE: So the first couple of weeks, you're getting your feet wet in highschool and as a freshman I was petrified because the high school was so big to me. Before it was, you would change rooms every time, right? Well, now you're going into this huge school, everything's internal and you have to try to figure out how to get around. And it was the lunch hour, and I could see him from the end of the hallway there was a Marine recruiter standing there in his dress blues. He had a white tablecloth on the table, and he had long-stemmed roses with the thorns and a female cover, so a female bucket cover. So, females now in 2019, regulations have changed. They wear the barracks covers that 00:15:00look more like a male cover, that they wear with their uniforms, but at the time, it was a bucket cover, is what it was called. And so was very feminine and very pretty. And I will never forget walking over to that table, and he looked at me and he said, "What can I help you with?" and I said, "I want to sign up to be a Marine." And he laughed at me and he said, "How old are you?" and I said, "I'm a freshman," and he said, "Well, come and talk to me in three years." So that was my first interaction with a recruiter. And I followed him around and went to every DEP meeting. I went to every Poolee meeting that we had, anything the recruiters were doing, I was there. I followed him around for three years. [Laughs] And they never discounted me. Anytime I would go to the recruiter's office, I was one of them. They always believed I could do it. 00:16:00
SPRAGUE: What is DEP and Poolee?
GALSKE: Sure, the DEP program is the Delayed Entry Program. So you would getstudents that were waiting to go to boot camp, and they would enlist six months to a year before their actual shipment date, so it was probably dependent on school or age, because you could enlist at sixteen at the time with the parents' consent. And the Poolee meetings are, once you're enlisted and you're in the DEP program, you become a Poolee. So you're part of the pool of young men and women that are getting ready to ship to boot camp. And so when you go to these Poolee meetings, you are going and you're working on your physical fitness, you're learning regulations of the Marine Corps, some history, so when you go into boot camp you're not completely blindsided. You're already getting inducted into being in the Marine Corps. And I did get to meet other recruiters along the way, and I was just not attracted to what they had to offer for one reason 00:17:00or another. It was always, always the Marine Corps.
SPRAGUE: So what are some of those experiences that you remember while you werein those programs prior to going to basic?
GALSKE: Well I couldn't enlist until I hit eighteen, because my father said Icould never be a Marine. He said I would never make it. And I know that's shocking, because I think honestly, as I've become a mother myself now and I understand better and I've got some life experience, I think my father was scared. I think he was afraid to send me because it's the Marine Corps. It quite honestly is the biggest challenge as far as any branch of service, unless you're going into a specialty of that branch. I don't want to discount Navy 00:18:00and Army, they have some amazing, amazing things. But at the time as a female, and as an eighteen-year-old kid, going into the Marine Corps was kind of scary. I'm sorry, I lost the train of what you had asked me.
SPRAGUE: I was just curious if there were any specific experiences you rememberprior to going to basic.
GALSKE: I remember running [laughs] a lot. At the time we were still doing oneand a half miles for running time. And it had always kind of been discussed in the back of the room like, "Someday we're going to make you do what the guys do, ha-ha." It was like a joke. It really was because I think at the time, we understood that we're not men and we're not supposed to be. So the symbolism behind the rose, if I could fill in the gap a little bit, because I 00:19:00did ask the recruiter why the rose on the table and he said, "Because those are a symbol of female Marines." And I thought, "Okay?" and he goes, "They're beautiful, but they've got thorns and they'll getcha." And I thought, "Okay, well that makes sense to me," right? They're beautiful but they're strong. And I think that was the other part that I always felt was so special, was that they didn't expect me to be a man. They wanted me to be a strong warrior woman. And I thought that was just so, so cool, that they would want me to be a part of what they were doing.
So the memories that I have of getting ready to go to boot camp were, they showyou all the videos of drill instructors and they try to mentally prepare you. We would do PT [physical training] a lot, together. So, a lot of physical training together. Learning how to run better, to do sit-ups, to do pullups. 00:20:00It was the dead-arm hang at the time for me, so basically like you're pulling yourself up like a regular pull up, but you have to hold your chin above the bar for ninety seconds. And that really doesn't sound difficult, but because of our center-of-gravity, men can't do it. So for the women, we have a harder time doing pull-ups, right, because of our center of gravity. So there was logic behind at the time of doing that, and boy, how times have changed. It's not like that anymore. So a lot of it was physical fitness and just getting ready to go to boot camp.
SPRAGUE: So tell me about going to go to boot camp.
GALSKE: Sure. So I will tell you that my recruiter was a comedian. And in myhigh school, I had a lot of friends that were going to boot camp, a lot of friends that were joining the Marines and my junior year I turned eighteen, and my recruiter absolutely knew that. So I was at cheerleading 00:21:00practice one night and doing the one thing I disliked doing the most, which was making posters. [Laughs] I did not like making posters, but we were making posters. And my coach, her brother was a Marine. And so she knew that I wanted to join the Marine Corps. And so, when my recruiter out of the blue, peeked around the corner in one of the classrooms as we're making posters during our practice, he peeked around the corner and she goes, "Oh, the Marine recruiter's here for you, you can go ahead and go."
She always understood that that's where I wanted to be, and I come around thecorner and like, "What are you doing here?" And he goes, "Well, as far as I know, last week you turned eighteen." He goes, "I brought the contract." So, okay, so this is three years of me, from the time I met him as a freshman in high school, to the end of my junior year, he remembered. And he came 00:22:00to my high school during practice and said, "The library is open. I brought a contract. You said you were serious."
SPRAGUE: Wow. [Laughs]
GALSKE: Yeah. So we took a little walk down to the library, and I sat down, andI signed my contract. And he goes, "Holy shit, you were serious." [Laughs] And I said, "Yeah, a hundred percent serious." Yeah. So you know, that put me into the delayed entry program, because I still needed to finish high school. But I did sign up as a reservist, and I was going to go to Western, Michigan University. I wanted to be a nurse because I was going to a tech program through Granville High School for nursing. That's what I wanted to do. Here's the naïve side-- [phone ringing] 00:23:00
[Pause in recording]
SPRAGUE: Okay, so we were talking about your delayed entry program, signing thecontract and--
GALSKE: I was going into the reserves to start with. And I'm going to be anurse, going to go to Western, Michigan University. And so, then you go through the summer and you go through--you don't just enlist, and you go. There is a lot that goes into being enlisted and doing the swearing-in and going to MEPS [Military Entrance Processing Station]. MEPS is where they do your bloodwork, and they do your drug testing, and they make sure that you're physically ready to go to boot camp. And then they give you the--you swear in and vow to serve your country.
SPRAGUE: What else at MEPS? Tell me a little bit more about MEPS. It sounds interesting.
GALSKE: It sounds interesting, it's not interesting. [Laughter] It is just likeboot camp. It is one as one of those things that we all have in 00:24:00common. If you ever sit down a group of veterans, going into MEPS and going to boot camp are the two places that we have all been to at one time or another. So going into MEPS is, to me, where they first start to put you through the wringer of--how do I put this so people can visually understand what this is? They start to strip away your individual-ness. You are taught from the time you are very young that, first, it's share everything, share everything, and then it's, that's not theirs, that's yours. You are an individual, you are your own person, worry about yourself. Well then, when you enlist in the military, they strip that individualism away from you again, and it's not about you. It's 00:25:00about the team. So you have to go through another learning process at eighteen or nineteen years old, and that's the first. MEPS is the first step of you don't get to think for yourself anymore. You're herded into a room and you all sign your life away, basically, and you better not lie about anything and make sure that you're clean and you don't have a record and they put you in a room and they make you do the duck walk in your underwear. It's a little degrading. [Laughs] But they're trying to make sure that your body is ready for everything that it's going to be put against when you go to boot camp. So it's that first piece.
[Pause in recording]
SPRAGUE: Okay, so you were talking about your experiences at MEPS. Were thereany differences between how the men were treated and the women were treated and what was that about? Explain that. 00:26:00
GALSKE: Sure. It was the first time that there was a definite separation betweenmen and women. Probably the same testing was going on, just in different areas of the building. So that was probably the first time that you really noticed the separation, although there was an understanding that when we went to boot camp, that men and women don't train together, which--there's some comfort in that, that you don't--it's always a competition, when men are around women or vice a versa, it's a competition. And I think they do it more for safety so that your whole head is in the game when you're training together, just as women and as men, which is still going on today, and it's been that way since 1775.
SPRAGUE: Yeah. So tell me more about, so then you ship out for basic.
GALSKE: Yes, I graduated from high school in May of 1996. And during00:27:00my senior year, people were talking about college and where they're going to go or where they're not going to go, and I started to hear a lot of people say, "I'm going to stay here and go to college. I'm not really going to--I don't want to travel. I don't want to do any of that." And I thought, "I don't want to stay here." I had moved so much when I was younger that I actually kind of missed moving around. I mean, those four years of high school were the longest I'd ever stayed in one place. So I really wanted to get back to California. I really, really loved California. And so about a month before I was to ship off to boot camp, I actually changed my contract from reserves to active-duty.
SPRAGUE: Oh, okay. What drove that decision?
GALSKE: I wanted to leave. [Luke laughs] I did. I wanted to leave the people. Iwanted to just go do other things. I wanted to meet other people. And I wanted to get the full experience of being in the military. And I'm so, so thankful that I did that. I know so much more now that I knew then, but I'm so 00:28:00glad that I had the vision and the guts to say, "I'm not staying here. I would rather go overseas than to stay here and deal with the same things, run around the same mountain, so to speak." So yeah, I went off to boot camp and that is something that you never, ever forget. You never forget the bus ride there. You don't forget the plane ride. Because everything is unknown. You're flying into the unknown. You have no idea what to expect. You don't know who your drill instructors are. You don't even know what it really looks like. You don't know how it's going to feel. You know, you think you're so cool and you're strong and you can mentally--you can watch movies all day, and mentally try to prepare yourself for what it is, but every person will have a different experience. Every person is prepared differently.
Some people were right out of high school that had "the perfect00:29:00life." They had the mother in the father in the brothers and sisters, and they went to the same school their whole life and had the same friends, and they don't have any street smarts at all, they've never had to fend for themselves. And then you have kids like me, who if I wouldn't have had street smarts, I'd be dead. I mean, the stories I could tell you, places that I had ended up, or at night walking down the street because I wanted to go to my friend's house, or in the middle of the desert because I wanted to go visit somebody? Well, I didn't get a car and go. I didn't grab the city bus. I walked everywhere I went. In the middle of the desert. That's nuts when I think back on it. So I went to boot camp with a little bit different vision, a little bit more experience. I'd been around the block a few times. But nonetheless, it was still terrifying, when you're on that bus and all of the videos that you've shown you of, 00:30:00"This is what boot camp is going to look like."
And now you're in the bus, physically in the bus, and you see the yellowfootprints, and the drill instructor comes on the bus, and it's real, when they're telling you, "This is who I am, this is what you're going to do, and you're not going to ask any questions, it's yes ma'am, yes sir, no sir, aye ma'am, aye sir, get off my bus."
SPRAGUE: Where was your boot camp just out of curiosity?
GALSKE: Sure. So my boot camp was in Parris Island, South Carolina. That's theonly place that women Marines train. So they do have male veterans there. The males train on two different bases, California, San Diego, MCRD [Marine Corps Recruit Depot] San Diego, and MCRD Parris Island. So yes.
SPRAGUE: So tell me a little bit. You mentioned yellow footsteps. Tell me about those.
GALSKE: The biggest tradition in Marine Corps, one of the many, many, manytraditions of the Marine Corps is the yellow footprints. And the 00:31:00yellow footprints signify that once you get off that bus, you become a team. Everybody stands on the same feet. Generations, hundreds of years of males and females have stood on those exact yellow footprints, and they're put at a forty-five degree angle so that you know that's how you stand at attention. They're teaching you as soon as you get off the bus that your thoughts are not your own anymore. We all move as one.
There are two doors on Parris Island when you get to boot camp that you passthrough only one time. And it is not even on active duty. Nobody there goes through those doors twice, ever. So those doors are the ones that signify you changing from a civilian into a Marine. They're huge silver doors with the Marine Corps EGA, the eagle, globe, and anchor on it. And only one 00:32:00time do you go through those doors. And so, they make quite a big production of it when you get there. And once you go through those doors, you're now into receiving and that's when they go through all of your paperwork again. Now keep in mind you haven't slept for probably two days at this point, between the travel and getting on the bus, and the plane rides, and all that, you're food deprived, certainly. You don't know where, you're disoriented, it's all the magic of going to boot camp. It's taking you out of your comfort zone on purpose.
Everything they do is with a purpose. So when you go in and you're gettingscreamed at, it's all for a reason. It's to put you in a very uncomfortable state to see how you're going to react, what is your state of mind, what can you get through? Because when you go into combat, nobody is going to say, "Oh, do you need a break? It's okay, let's take some water and recuperate." 00:33:00It's right from the beginning, it is learning a different way to do things.
SPRAGUE: Are there any experiences that you had while you were there that stickin your mind?
GALSKE: I have many memories from boot camp. I think the first one for me was, Ihad really, really long hair, down to my waist. Very long dark hair. And they joke around and say that the guys are going to get their heads shaved, right? Nobody ever talks about what happens to the women when they go to boot camp. And I guess I had never thought of it until I got there, and one of the drill instructors walked past me and she grabbed my hair, not in a rough way, but she grabbed my hair and she said, "Oh, we're going to cut this off." [Luke laughs] And I thought for a half a second, I thought, "Yeah, right. No you're not." And then I thought, "Oh, crap. I don't have any say in this." And that fear set in, like my identity, right? Because as a kid, as a young woman, your 00:34:00identity is what you look like.
So I had a receiving drill instructor--so you spent a little bit of time in areceiving platoon, so they're basically teaching you how to march in a formation, how to go to the chow hall, how to go through the chow hall, which is a whole other experience, because you're so used to just talking, and being, and what the Marine Corps likes to call "nasty" [laughs] because you're just gaggling around and you're really not paying attention, you're not moving with purpose. And that's what they're trying to teach you in receiving, is you better get used to moving with intention and purpose. And that's what it is. So she sat us down and she said, not in a very nice way, that "Your hair will be up tomorrow morning, off of your collar. Welcome to boot camp. Now you want to be Marines? This is what you need to look like." And she turned around 00:35:00and showed us the bun that she had on her head. And then she took a handful of us girls in the office and actually talked to us like women and said, "I will show you one time how to put your hair up." So she took her hair down and put it back up. And that was our lesson on how to do our hair. [Luke laughs] And then before we went to bed, she left some scissors out on the floor and she said, "And if you can't figure out how to put your hair up, you better make sure that it's cut off for tomorrow."
And there were. I remember getting up in the middle of the night and going tothe restroom and there were girls sitting on the floor cutting each other's hair off, because they didn't want to have to worry about any of that. And I'm sure that those are their memories. I learned pretty quick how to put my hair up overnight. As ready as I was to go to boot camp, I remember laying in my rack that first night and just bawling myself to sleep, because it was so radically different. I had four years to think about how amazing it was going to be. That I had this extended family. While recruiters and drill 00:36:00instructors are not the same people. [Luke laughs] Okay? So yeah, I lay there, and I thought, "What did I do? What did I do?" And I think everybody, male or female, has that first night of sleep when you're going, "What have I done?" And then you get up the next morning and you learn to fall in line. You learn very quickly that you don't have an opinion, and you don't ask questions. You simply do what you're told. And you do it quickly. So.
SPRAGUE: So what was the chow hall experience like? Tell me more about that.
GALSKE: Sure. So leaving out of the barracks that morning, you have to get intoformation, and I was pretty quick. I was very, very good at being a Marine. I don't know why, but I just was. And I didn't question anything. I just got into formation. And from day one I was the Second Platoon Leader. And I was the Second Platoon Leader until we graduated. So for thirteen weeks, I 00:37:00was first in line, second row. But walking to the chow hall, you go in per column, so each row would go in separately. And you would go in and you would grab a tray and your elbows would be to your sides at a ninety-degree angle. And you put your tray up and you needed to ask for it properly. There was no looking around or, "Oh, I think I might have that," or "Oh, I don't want that." You got "Potatoes recruit, chicken recruit," I mean that's what you said because those were recruits on the other side of the glass, serving your food. And so that was the respect that you rendered to them. And you went and sat down, and you ate, and as soon as you got done, you put your stuff away and you went back out in a formation and you waited for everybody else to get done. So stress.
SPRAGUE: So you mentioned it was an all-female class?00:38:00
GALSKE: Correct, yes.
SPRAGUE: And men trained separately?
GALSKE: They trained completely separately on the other side of the island.
SPRAGUE: So not mixed platoons, not mixed, completely different, completely separate.
GALSKE: Completely separate. You didn't interact with males until--I don'tremember what phase it was. In Marine Corps boot camp you have different phases of boot camp. But the rifle range was the only other time that you got to actually comingle with male recruits. And that was, being on the rifle range, you needed all the power you could get because you were pulling targets. So you were down range pulling targets, big targets and you had to do it very fast, and so, you needed as many people on as you could, and they needed to get as many people on the range as possible. So that was the only time that you--and oh gosh, I wish I could remember what phase that was in, because it's 00:39:00all a blur. But you have that first phase, second phase, and I want to say it was third phase, because it's right as you're almost done. I mean, if you really think about it, they give you an M16 in receiving when you first become, you know, when you're first there and you get your first drill instructors, the first thing they do is take you to the armory and get your M16.
SPRAGUE: That's interesting. Were all your DIs, were they all female? Were they male?
GALSKE: Yes. No males. No male drill instructors. They did not comingle thatway. I know that it's different in other branches of service, but in the Marine Corps, females train females and males train males. And we had three of them. So you have to junior--and I don't even know that that's the proper title, but there were two green belt drill instructors, and then you had the 00:40:00black belt, and she's your senior drill instructor. So she was like the mama of the entire place. And she was the one was the protector, the overseer. The green belts were the ones that you needed to be afraid of, because those were the ones that were the heavies.
SPRAGUE: So what do you remember about your graduation as a Marine?
GALSKE: Sure. Boy, boot camp was ups and downs. I did so many scary things Ididn't ever think that I'd be able to do. There's another point after the rifle range and then you do this KP [kitchen patrol] duty, where you're either washing sheets or you're in the chow hall and it's a break week. So you have a break week in there and in that break week you get your uniforms. And so all of your graduation uniforms, they wait until the very end to get those to you, obviously, because some women are losing weight in boot camp, you 00:41:00just don't know what you're going to be, or even making it. Some people don't make it. Some people cycle back, and they have to start over. It was right at that point that I was called into the recruiter--I'm sorry, to the drill instructor's office by the senior drill instructor, which is, you never know if that's good or bad. But when you hear your name from across the squad bay, I come running in and you have to bang on the side of the door, and you have to ask permission to come inside.
And she said to come in and shut the door behind me, and I thought, "Oh gosh,what did I do?" You know, a million thoughts a minute. And she said, "I wanted to let you know that we picked you to graduate as the honor grad. You are the honor grad for the platoon." And it took everything in my power to not grin from ear-to-ear, because you really weren't allowed to show emotion. And she said, "Your recruiter's on the phone." That's why she wanted me to shut the door. So the recruiter is on the phone, the one that enlisted me was ecstatic 00:42:00on the other end, "I knew you could do it. I knew it was in you." It was awesome to hear somebody not yelling at me. [Laughter]
SPRAGUE: I would imagine.
GALSKE: Congratulating me on being the honor grad and that they would be therefor my graduation and just how awesome that was. So to answer the question of graduation, was a whole other level of feeling like you are really a part of something incredible, because from there, the senior drill instructor sent me down to the uniform ladies and fitted me with dress blues. So as the honor grad, you got to graduate in your dress blues. And that was really incredible.
SPRAGUE: So in the Marine Corps, once you've graduated, you're a Marine now. Howdo you decide and how do you go to that next step of training or specialization?
GALSKE: Sure. So before, when you go to MEPS in the beginning, when00:43:00you go through all of your duck walking and all of that, they also talk to you about the contract that the recruiter is putting you in. And so I enlisted as a truck driver, as motor transportation. So I was going to drive five tons and Humvees. And I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I just knew I had a job in the Marine Corps, and I was really excited about it. And so you already know that going into boot camp. So they're already getting your orders ready while you're in boot camp. And so as soon as you graduate, you go on a ten-day leave, they call it boot leave, and you get to go home and recuperate and show off, basically go home and be with your recruiters, and your recruiters use you, of course. Think about it. You just saw her in May. It's October. The school year is starting again and I'm back, and people still remember me because I just graduated.
So now I'm coming back as this trophy. It's a great recruiting tool for them.But then I had my orders. And so back then, in '96 when I graduated from boot camp, in October, you didn't go to AIT [Advanced Individual Training] 00:44:00you didn't go further in your training at that time. I was the last platoon to go through before the Crucible. So I'm not a Crucible Marine.
SPRAGUE: What is the Crucible?
GALSKE: The Crucible is an extra training period. I think it's--boy, don't quoteme on this, I don't even know if this is accurate, but it's a certain amount of hours where those Marines, because they're really classified as Marines at this point, but they have not graduated from boot camp yet, but they're sent out into the field for fifty or sixty hours of training without sleep. So they're put through all of these team-building combat situations, land navigation, night vision, shooting, all of those things, and that's where they earn their eagle and anchor. So it's an extended piece of boot camp for them, but it's 00:45:00called the Crucible.
SPRAGUE: And you didn't do that?
GALSKE: I did not do that. I was the last platoon to graduate before thathappened. So it was kind of good, kind of not. After I heard about it, I thought that would be really neat to finish, to do something like that. So you come home, you get your orders, you find out where you're going. And so my school was out of Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. And so I went to an Army base to do training, which was totally weird, because I was not expecting that. [Laughs] I thought I was going to like Virginia, or something like that. I don't know. That was just my own nineteen-year-old thoughts of where I was going. But they had changed the motor transportation schooling and the MPs, the military police are both at Fort Leonard Wood as of 1996. So two weeks after boot camp, 00:46:00you have your orders in hand and you are on your way to school.
SPRAGUE: So backing up, stepping back a little, what drove your decision, orwhat led to your interest in truck driving, diesel mechanic? Bring me up to speed on that.
GALSKE: Well, going back and meeting my dad for that first time, my dad was hugeinto drag racing. He loved drag cars. He was a huge gearhead and I at that point in my life had never been introduced to that side, working on a car and things like that. And I figured that he probably wasn't going to ask me to help him, because he had never had a daughter before. Here I am fourteen-years-old, I have my own thoughts and where I want to go, and how does a man ask his daughter who he's never really met before, "Do you want to come work on the car with me?" That was kind of my dad's safe space, was in the garage under the 00:47:00vehicle. And so I started peeking in over the engine like, "What are you doing?" And I really learned to love cars. I learned to love how they worked and being able to work on them. And my dad was a truck driver from before I really knew him, when I was two. And I went over the road with him a few times. And it was just something that was familiar. And they didn't have nursing in the Marine Corps. That was a Navy job. So I went with truck driving because I just wanted to go to boot camp. So it was the job that I picked.
SPRAGUE: So you're at Fort Leonard Wood, which is normally understood to be anArmy base, or Army post, sorry. Explain to me what that experience was like, coming from the Marine Corps to an Army post.
GALSKE: Boy, you're so full of piss and vinegar at that point because you'recoming out of boot camp and you're just at the highest point of your life, especially for me coming off as an honor grad, I thought that I had some kind of extra power going [Luke laughs] into school, because I was an honor 00:48:00grad. I was the best of the best in my platoon, right? And then I got to school and no, you start all over again. Nobody cares about what you did in boot camp. Now you're at school, now you're a Marine. But guess what? You're the lowest paid here. So you're still a nothing, basically. You haven't proven yourself yet because you haven't been to school yet. I was not happy. This is when everything shifted for me, was when I went to school because I had trained with females for the most part.
Now, I was--if you can put yourself in this space for a moment, you haveeighteen, nineteen year old kids right out of high school, they have 00:49:00no world experience at all, dealing with Marines that have been in for four or five years that have years of experience and thousands of hours. They know the language, they know what to expect, they know what's expected of them, and then you're throwing in this fresh meat. And I really mean that, literally, when I say that that's how these males--because again, only two percent of the Marine Corps were female at the time.
SPRAGUE: And did you train with the men at Fort Leonard Wood?
GALSKE: Yes. When you went to school, that's totally different. And I wasprobably--five out of sixty Marines were females in my first platoon. And it was a culture shock for me because all these girls, I think two or three 00:50:00of them I had gone to boot camp with. We're in boot camp and we're so structured and we're so for each other, and we got to school, and it was this free-for-all of just doing whatever they wanted and partying. I was so blown away by the disorder that I actually got really sick. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with me and I'm pretty sure it was just pure depression. I could not focus on school. I was so tired. I was sick. My throat look like hamburger. I was just physically sick at what I was experiencing, what I was seeing. I had sergeants that were in charge of the school that were inappropriate. They it would look at you inappropriately. They would expect you to do things that you knew in your heart was nothing that they would ask a male to do, but they were going to ask you to do it, like leading PT for instance, back when I--at that 00:51:00point you had silkies, they call them, they're little, tiny, silk, green shorts. And that's what everybody wore. That was uniform.
And so when you're doing PT and doing calisthenics and things like that, whenyou have male teachers that are purposely standing behind you? I wasn't born yesterday. I know what you're doing and there's nothing I can do about it. Because I was a part of the Good Ol' Boys Club, right? So you see how the story is shifting, you can probably hear it in my voice, the frustration of I came out of there because I wanted to work because I wanted to be a Marine so badly, and then, here I am being looked at like a piece of meat. At nineteen-years-old, I'm going to be in the best shape of my life I just got out of boot camp. 00:52:00But the worst part about Parris Island is that it's flat, right? Because it's right on the ocean so Fort Leonard Wood is all hills and bluffs. Beautiful. Missouri is beautiful. Terrible to run in when you're coming out of boot camp and they want to go on a three-mile run and it's all hills and you fall out. Let me tell you, something falling out of a run in the Marine Corps is the worst thing you can do for yourself, because then you're no good. Then you're labeled as being lazy or fat or just a female because they just expected females to fall out. And so I was put on a fat platoon, which did not help my morale.
And the Naval doctor finally said, "I'm sending you home. I'm sending you homefor two weeks to get better, because I just don't know what to do for you. But maybe going home will help." And I went home and went back to my recruiters and went home to family and screwed my head on straight, kicked my own 00:53:00self in the butt, started running more, and I came back renewed. I came back a different person. And the best part of that was I came back, and they put me in a different platoon. I was the only female in the platoon for truck. And every single one of those men that were in that platoon with me were rock stars. They adopted me like a little sister, and I really, really just had some great friends out of that.
SPRAGUE: So a very different experience from the first platoon that you were in.
GALSKE: Very different. Very different, but the same sergeant that was beinginappropriate was still there. But I had his number now, and I wasn't going to let him get away with it. And so, I was very bold in standing my ground and making sure that he was not a part of my decision-making or where I was going or how my grades were going to reflect, because a lot is expected of you 00:54:00when you go to school in the military. It's a lot of practical application which is what I love. I don't enjoy sitting in a classroom. I'd rather you just show me how to do it and let me go do it. [Laughs]
SPRAGUE: So it sounds like you were the one female member of a platoon. It was amixed platoon, both men and women in the training platoon?
GALSKE: Yes. I just happened to be the only female that was there because I wascycled back. Because the platoon I went into originally had already graduated by the time I got back.
SPRAGUE: Were you in barracks? Were you in apartments?
SPRAGUE: Were they separate? Were they co-ed? How did that work?
GALSKE: Well, we were separated by probably ten yards of grass. [Laughs] Sothere were different barracks, male barracks, and female barracks, but we were all within the same campus. And we had free time. I mean, it was kind of like having an apartment. We had to share rooms with two other girls, 00:55:00because there wasn't a lot of barracks at the time. So you were always with the males and females together, which was good. You had a lot of good relationships, friendships, you got weekends off. So that was good. We were able to go explore and spend some time in St. Louis, and that was really fun.
SPRAGUE: Any other experiences at Fort Leonard Wood that you'd like to share?
GALSKE: I was a good driver. [Laughs] I didn't get to drive a whole lot. Betweenmy grandfather and my dad, they taught me how to drive so well, and I just have an innate ability to get in anything and drive it. And so, I was so excited to drive those big old five-ton trucks from Vietnam. That was just so much fun to me. And I was so good at it that the trainers, which are civilians, 00:56:00when they're doing your actual driving test, they would yell at me for not having both hands on the wheel, because the big, big wheels that they had in there, the big steering wheels, and I would always have one hand on the wheel and one hand on the gear shift, because I'd always driven manual transmission. Thank goodness that I was taught that early on in life, so I was really having a good time with it. And they would say, "You've got to keep both hands on the wheel," I'm like, "Oh, that's right." I hated doing that because I was felt uncomfortable with both hands on the wheel, but because I was such a good driver, they didn't let me drive very often because there were people going to school that didn't even have a driver's license. So, imagine that. [Laughs]
SPRAGUE: So you get done at Fort Leonard Wood and then?
GALSKE: Yeah, before you even finish completely and go through the graduationprocess, through school, they've already cut your orders for where you're going to go. So when you get into a school, you go through your wish list right? And this famous wish list, everybody knows about the wish list, is basically, where do you want to be stationed when you get your orders? Do you 00:57:00want to be overseas? Do you want to be a West Coast or East Coast, right? So I picked West Coast first, overseas second, and East Coast third. So when I got my orders, I was going to Camp Pendleton, California, 1st Marine Division. And that was in March of 1997.
SPRAGUE: And which company were you in, in the Headquarters Battalion?
GALSKE: I was with Truck Company. So they only had one truck motor pool at thetime and that was H&S company. So, Headquarters and Service Company. And then across the fence you had Truck Company. So they were kind of commingled at the time and they split up later on. Each serviced a different part of 1st Marine Division. Headquarters and Service Battalion served a lot of the G-Shops, so you would get a lot of the Garrison, so like legal and different 00:58:00things like that that might need a safety vehicle or move equipment around, and then the other side of it, Truck Company would actually service grunts. So 1st Marine Division is a lot of grunt power. So you had a lot of like 2435, different grunt units that were on the northern side of the base that would do a lot of live fires and night operations, a lot of ammo, all the schools, sergeant's course, corporal's course, things like that. All the different courses and trainings, we were safety vehicles and troop transportation.
SPRAGUE: So I know you and I know this, but explain to the listener what a grunt is.
GALSKE: Sure. So a grunt is basically somebody--it's males who enlist thatare--how do I explain a grunt? [Luke laughs] That's really hard, when you know, when we know what it is, but how do you explain? So it's an 00:59:00infantryman, basically.
SPRAGUE: There you go.
GALSKE: It's somebody with a gun who is going to go into that fight first. And1st Marine Division is known in history as the tip of the spear. So the grunt units that are in 1st Marine Division are elite groups of men that are fearless in the protection of their country. And it was an honor, absolute honor, to work with them.
SPRAGUE: So you've explained who your unit services. What does a normal day looklike in your job duties while you were with Truck Company, Headquarters Battalion 1st Marine Division?
GALSKE: It was actually either really super boring or [laughs] really, reallybusy. So ninety percent of the time, you always started out with PT in the morning. So you're going for your runs or your ruck marches, really just to maintain and keep you in good shape. And really, the psychology 01:00:00behind that is, if we were to go into a combat situation, or if somebody were to come along and disrupt our daily activities and we would have to save ourselves, that we would be in shape to be able to do that, and to save other people. So we always laughed that we got paid to stay in shape, but I mean, a part of that is true. It was really about pride in yourself. It was about just being physically fit and looking good in uniform. But it was also about safety and making sure that if it did hit the fan, that you were ready physically. Emotionally is a flip of a switch. They teach you that in boot camp, right back to the yellow footprints. If it gets serious, we can flip it now. But physically, that's a lot harder to do.
So you have to maintain that physical fitness. Other than that, it was just aregular job, like any other civilian job. We'd go in and we'd do preventive maintenance on our vehicles. We would have our range time where we 01:01:00would shoot our M16s and our 9mm, to make sure that we were always prepared to go into combat if need be. So no matter what your job is, you are a basic rifleman, so all of those things are important.
SPRAGUE: You had mentioned during the pre-interview questioning that you haddone some driving for specific units that you'd mentioned, like maybe Recon. Tell me about that.
GALSKE: I did. So on Camp Margarita in Camp Pendleton, you had a Recon unit. Andthey're 1st Marine Division Force Recon and an incredible unit. We would have to do safety vehicle drives for them. And rarely did they actually get in the truck [laughs] or did we have to carry their equipment, but we are always there to help them. And so they would go on runs where they would leave at seven a.m. in the morning, and they would still be running at five on their way 01:02:00back. So we basically are a trail vehicle. We would follow them out. They would do exercises in the ocean. So they would run from the base all the way to the ocean, do their training, and then they would run back at the end of the day. And I mean, top physical fitness. But their reconnaissance, so they go in first under the radar, and those things are absolutely mandatory. So yeah, that was one of the units that I did work with. That was a lot of fun to watch.
SPRAGUE: While you were at Camp Pendleton how did you communicate with your family?
GALSKE: I was privileged enough that my mother and my grandparents only livedseven hours away. So San Diego to Tucson, Arizona was only seven hours, and I love to drive anyway, so yeah, I would drive back and forth or make a phone call. Letters. [Laughs]
SPRAGUE: What did people in your unit do for entertainment?01:03:00
GALSKE: For entertainment they actually did free movies on base. So they had amovie theater on base. That was pretty neat. I'd never been to a free movie. [Laughs] It was also the first time I'd ever had to stand for the national anthem before a movie started. So before any movies ever played in the theater on base, we would have to stand for the national anthem, which I always thought was interesting, but really, really cool. A different experience. Bowling. Playing pool. Camping. Go to the ocean, because you had Del Mar right there, and that was all on base. So you'd just drive down to the ocean and barbecue and gosh, we did that all the time. All the time.
SPRAGUE: What were the housing conditions like there?
GALSKE: It depended on which camp you were a part of because you had differentcamps in Camp Pendleton. They're kind of all self-contained. So Camp 01:04:00Margarita, you had barracks, just like every other barracks when you think of a barracks, like a gigantic apartment building. Beautiful views. That's the one thing I remember the most about being on Pendleton, is there's a lot of hills and it's just beautiful and peaceful. But yeah, just regular barracks living. If you got married, you could live in a regular house on base, with a garage and all of those things, but I wasn't, so I didn't. But I did move off base, because I didn't want to live in the barracks anymore, because it was just more of a frat house. [Laughter] And I didn't like that. So I chose to live off base. It was probably one of the best decisions I ever made.
SPRAGUE: So any experience at Camp Pendleton that are memorable to you?
GALSKE: All of them. I mean, I spent five years at Camp Pendleton. I01:05:00knew that place like the back of my hand. I spent four years with Truck Company, and then my contract was coming to an end, and boy, I had met some really awesome people. Colonel Miller, Gary Miller, was the first officer that I ever met when I was just a baby in the Marine Corps. He came up to me out in the field and I had no idea how to react, because I'd only been to boot camp. I had no experience behind me, and we were doing live fires and all these different things and you're in full combat gear, and here comes an officer around the corner.
And I froze in my footsteps because nobody was with me and he came up to me andyou're not supposed to salute the field for obvious reasons. Your enemy will know that's an officer and that will be the first person they target, so I just kind of stood there and looked at him [laughs] and I said, "Good evening, sir," and he was like, "It's okay, relax," and he stood and talked to me 01:06:00and he asked me questions. He said, "I really want to know, because I've got three boys. What is it like for a girl in the Marine Corps?" I mean, he's a full bird colonel asking a lance corporal, an E3, what are your thoughts of females in the Marine Corps? And it was the most amazing conversation. I will never forget that because I candidly said, "Well, I don't think females should be in combat. I think that females are strong, and they have a place. I just don't think it's on the front lines. I think we're all nurturers by nature, and a male's natural instinct is to save us if something should happen, and I think we just compromise the integrity of them being a grunt and serving their purpose by being on the front lines with them."
And he thought that was just the coolest thing that I would say something likethat, and even for me thinking back on what I said at nineteen, how 01:07:00did I know that? How did I have the foresight to even know that females shouldn't be? Because I had every reason in the world to believe that they should be right? I had survived boot camp. I graduated number one. I've done all of these things. I've survived. I'm strong. But I knew that females just didn't have a space there. And he actually took me into the career--oh gosh, what were they called? I'm trying to remember what they were called. Career Counselor. And that is a person that helps you plan out your career in the Marine Corps. Every three and a half years or so you meet with them, because that's when your contract comes up and that colonel actually recommended me for OCS, which is Officer Candidate School, because he saw something in me as an officer.
And one of the unfortunate parts, and I know that there's a lot of people outthere that have gone through this, where they go to the service because they want to go to college. That's the recruiter tagline, right? You don't 01:08:00want to pay for college, we'll pay for it. What they don't tell you is, you'd better get into a unit that will allow you to go to school. Mine didn't. So the colonel could say, "I recommend her for OCS," all day long, but it was up to my unit to make the time for me to go to school, because we didn't have online courses back then. You actually had to physically go to school. And they were not allotting me the time to do it. So I did get in about a year's worth of college at Palomar College in San Diego. And I was going to school to be a paralegal.
SPRAGUE: So backing up a little bit, or simultaneously, the colonel is talkingor recommending you for OCS. As an NCO, your enlisted experience, what was that like, in terms of leading, supervising, how did that go? What was 01:09:00that like?
GALSKE: My first year was awful. I think it still goes back to being stubborn,having a lot of world experience because of my growing up, my background, which I mentioned before, graduating number one. I always had that in the top of my head, that I know what to do. And then you get into a unit where, again, you have now--went through the school experience, now I'm in a unit where I have older Marines, even, that don't want females in the Marine Corps. So I was the second female ever in 1st Marine Division Truck Company.
SPRAGUE: How did you know that? How did you come about that knowledge? It sounds interesting.
GALSKE: I asked, because there was only one other female there, when I gotthere. She was not the standard that I would expect a female to be. She had gone in a year before me. So she was the very first, and really set the 01:10:00bar low. And I don't want to discount her because she was a lovely girl. She just was not--her and I were not on the same level. I was much more intense. I wanted to be a Marine my whole life, so to speak, my adult life. And she just kind of took it as, "Eh, it's whatever. It's just a job." And so when I came in, I had a lot to prove. And the guys were certainly willing to make me prove it. And so it took me a year at least to understand that there is a rhythm in the military. You can't buck the system. It is what it is. So you either conform and thrive, or you can try to butt your head against the wall for five years or four years and try to change things and be miserable.
So once I learned that there's a rhythm and there's a chain of command for areason, and there's a time and a place to be a leader and to not be a 01:11:00leader. So you can still be a leader and be in the back row. And so it took me awhile, but once I got in a good rhythm and I learned my place, what I was really good at, what I wasn't so good at, where I could tap into other people and pull on their strengths, and learn, and learn, and learn, and learn. I just wanted to learn so much. I wanted to be a mechanic. Because I went in primarily to drive, but if I'm driving it, I should be able to fix it, right? Especially if I'm out in the field or I'm driving other people around and I don't have a mechanic with me, I should know what I'm looking at.
So I volunteered a lot and I say that loosely because you're pretty muchvolunteering all the time, the government just gives you a paycheck. [Laughs] But I was going in on weekends when I didn't have to, just to learn how to change the oil on a Humvee, how to change a spark plug or a glow plug 01:12:00or whatever I needed to do to make those vehicles work. So in that, you gain respect. So with gaining respect, you getting more opportunities to be a good leader. And once I figured that out, then I gained rank pretty quickly.
SPRAGUE: Any other experiences as a non-commissioned officer that you'd like to share?
GALSKE: Well, when I was going to extend my contract and stay in, I had somesenior leadership that all of a sudden didn't like me being a part of their unit. And so I went from having this glowing reenlistment package to a letter saying that "I don't want her a part of my Marine Corps." And that's unfortunately how some women treat each other. They see somebody thriving and doing a good job, and they feel threatened. And that reflected in my reenlistment package. But the silver lining is that I had a senior 01:13:00enlisted who worked with Colonel Miller. He was a sergeant major, took me aside and he said, "We don't want to lose you in the Marine Corps. You're a fantastic NCO. What other jobs do you want to do? Have you thought about doing a different job?" And I said, "Well, I'd love to be a drill instructor, or an MP. I'd love to do one of those." And he said, "Do the research and then let me know what you want to do, and we'll do whatever we can to make you stay, to get you to stay."
So I had some really, really great higher senior leadership that was outside ofthe motor pool that knew me and knew my work ethic. And I did my research and as far as being a drill instructor, it wasn't the same boot camp I went to, so a lot of my drill instructors were saying, "You'll probably be disappointed." And it was said more than once, so I thought, "Well gosh, maybe that's something I don't want to do, now. I don't want to set myself up for failure." 01:14:00And then the other part of it, I went, and I interviewed MPs, military police. And I just fell in love with that idea, and I wanted to go and be a part of the Criminal Investigations Department, because I was going to school to be a paralegal. So it all fit. It was all in align. And so I extended my contract for a year and that's how we got to the five years being in the Marine Corps. But I was the NCOIC for Police Records for Camp Pendleton. And that job was really, really fun. [Laughs]
SPRAGUE: Yeah, tell me about that. That's interesting.
GALSKE: So, being the NCOIC, you're the non-commissioned officer in charge ofthe police records for First Marine Division, basically, Base Camp Pendleton, and what you are is a liaison between Camp Pendleton and every surrounding police department in the San Diego or the greater metropolitan area. 01:15:00So you would go out and two days a week you would go visit the jails and see if there were any Marines [laughs] that were sitting or had any kind of slips that were written on them, tickets, if they had been arrested for anything, DUIs [driving under the influence]. I mean, this was back before everything was so digitally connected. Now, it's a flip of a switch, you can put somebody's social in and you can find them. Back then, you actually had to go out and do the research. And it was double-edged. You could hide the fact that you were an alcoholic, or you would get caught, because there were people like me that were going to the jails and finding those slips.
And in the Marine Corps, they call it a blotter. So, the blotters would go outevery week of who was being naughty. [Laughs] And you didn't want to be on the blotter because everybody knew. All the senior enlisteds across the base knew who to watch out for. And so that's what I was in charge of, was 01:16:00going out and getting those slips. And I tell you what, nothing feels better than being a Military Police Officer in the Marine Corps in uniform, and going into a civilian jail, because it's like watching the waters part. Anywhere you want to go, they'll let you in. I mean, you're in uniform, and you have a badge on, and it says Marine Corps. [Luke laughs] Like anything you want, they'll give it to you. [Laughs] So you know, now you're twenty-one years old, and you're like, "I'm coming to the jail, let me in." [Laughs] It's a lot of responsibility.
SPRAGUE: I would imagine.
GALSKE: It was fun, though.
SPRAGUE: Anything else you can tell me about your experience while you were atCamp Pendleton?
GALSKE: I think that was the first time that I realized I was privy to moreinformation than I had been before. Because I kind of had the rose-colored glasses on for a long time, that Marines did no wrong. And it was probably the first time that I put that human aspect to Marines. I'd had them on a 01:17:00pedestal for so long and then you become a cop, and then you get to see the dirty side. You get to see the child abusers. You get to see the men that beat their wives. You get to see drugs. The bad side that, whether you're in civilian clothes or you're in the military, we're all humans. We all make mistakes. We are all imperfect. And there's a lot of death. A lot of death in the Marine Corps, in any service.
But I don't think it's talked about. We talk about safety and don't stand inbetween trucks because you could get crushed, or don't go out and get drunk the night before you go to the field, because you're still going to be intoxicated when you're in a vehicle and you have a weapon in your hand. So I have my own traumas from having to do death reports and seeing young Marines commit suicide. That was the first time that I really had been a part of the other side, where there's the motivated side, the hardcore, "We're going to go to 01:18:00the gym and hoorah, hoorah," all of this, and then you get to see the sad side that really nobody talks about. So being an MP was, how do I wrap my mind around what my job is, is to go and sit and read files on accidents and real life situations that are going on on-base that most people don't hear about. So to see people in rollover accidents, just silly things, just freak accidents of guys sitting on the bed of a truck, like you did when you were a kid, you sit in the back of a truck on the edge. Well, one tire goes into a hole and the whole thing flips over and the guy gets crushed. Coming out of training. That's trauma to anybody.
So I don't want to throw out post-traumatic stress as being this easy thing tosay, or that anybody could go through it, or that it's some light 01:19:00subject, because we all have different traumas that hit us differently. But when you see and hear death--and you get combat veterans, I'm sure you interview combat veterans and they have a totally different reality of what fear really is, that to the core, on a cellular level, what it's like to be petrified, and know that nobody is there that's going to help you. And then that's the post-traumatic stress. And then for me, it's physically seeing somebody die, and I can't help them. Hearing them and knowing that--at the time, it was traumatic as a young woman, before I was a mother. But when you have children, you see those people in your children. And so, everybody that dies now it has trauma, they had a mother. So I can't watch scary movies to this day, because 01:20:00of the things that I saw being enlisted.
SPRAGUE: I understand.
GALSKE: So, yeah. [Sniffs] It was hard when they were your friends. The suicideaspect of it was alive and well, even then. It just wasn't talked about. That was something that was just hidden because it was a sign of weakness. And that's the thing that you're taught. And it's nobody's fault, it's just it's a way of making you run towards the fight. You put your weaknesses aside and go for broke. [Laughs]
SPRAGUE: Yeah. Do you think that those experiences that you had as a paralegalin COIC, do you think those drove at all, maybe, your decision to 01:21:00leave the military at that point? Or was that separate? Are they two different things?
GALSKE: No, I was actually offered the position--I worked so hard to get to acertain part of my career, and we all have those forks in the road, right? And my fork came. In February of 2001, I was asked by the staff NCOIC for Police--I'm sorry, for CID, for Criminal Investigations Department came to my office and asked me to be the first female NCO for CID, which in the Criminal Investigations Department, is the first time that you get to wear civilian clothes and a badge, and a gun. I mean, it's what all of the MPs wanted to be. You're basically a detective for the base. And at the time, I was 01:22:00twenty-three and some change, and looking at twenty-four, and I thought I knew everything. I had bigger dreams. I had all the tools in my toolbelt to go out and conquer the world, so why would I want to stay any longer in the Marine Corps than I had to?
And I felt like I had such a great year last year, instead of looking at it andsaying, "I had such an awesome year, imagine what next year's going to be like if I stayed?" I thought, "I've had such a great year, I should leave on a high note." And that's what I did. I told him no, that I had plans. I didn't have plans. I just didn't want to be enlisted anymore, which if you could ever say--you should never have regrets in life, but I think if some of us could go back, we would definitely go down the other fork, then the get out one, because I chose to EAS [end of active service]. I chose to get out, to end my contract. 01:23:00
SPRAGUE: So what was that like? What was that experience of leaving themilitary? What was that like?
GALSKE: Scary. At first, it's freeing. It's liberating because I don't have toanswer to anybody anymore. The roll of the eyes, that's exactly it, is "I don't have to answer to anybody anymore," but let me tell you when they scrape the sticker off of your windshield, and you know that you can no longer come back, you are not welcome here anymore? That's sobering. So I'll never forget driving off base for the first time and knowing that I can't turn around go back. Everything familiar to me is now gone. And that's, that's what is so important to understand, especially now, is that transitional period, you don't get it. You do because you've got to sign out of everything. You have to go to dental and you have to go to the PX, and you have to go to the commissary, 01:24:00you have to go all these places so that people will sign you out, thank you so much for your service, have a great day, and all you're thinking about is, "I'm out of here," and you're going to spend two days on how to write a resume, and how to do a job interview, and you're like, "I'm not even thinking about that, because I'm thinking about in a week, I don't have to deal with this Marine Corps thing anymore."
And those are the moments that you need to be really paying attention. Andthey're giving you one week to do that out of five years of--and I say this with love, five years of being brainwashed into believing that this is all you need. And feeling like, "Okay, now I have some freedom and I can leave." And so when you're in that transitional period of getting out, you're not thinking about, "What am I going to do when I get out? Oh, you mean I have to have a job in order to pay for my food, for my health, for my dental, to go to the ER, to get clothes?" Because I've been clothed by the military for five 01:25:00years. You don't realize how good you have it, really, truly, until you just don't.
SPRAGUE: So what was your first experience, what was your first job experiencein terms of returning to the civilian world, or just experience in general after leaving the Marine Corps?
GALSKE: Well, I moved thirteen times. I probably lived in every state. I movedto St. Louis first, then I went to Maryland, then I went to North Carolina, then I went to Reno, went to Phoenix. I mean--I went to Washington. I've lived everywhere, trying to figure out where I fit.
SPRAGUE: So you moved thirteen times immediately after leaving the Corps?
GALSKE: Yes. So I got out in 2001, moved to Phoenix, started working01:26:00for a company right away. Then 9/11 hit. And I was living in Phoenix when nine/eleven hit, and I tried to re-enlist. I had a boyfriend at the time. We were both Marines together. We were together for six and a half years. And 9/11 hit and I tried to re-enlist, and I found out I was pregnant with my son, Brandon. And I kind of say that I think he probably saved my life, because once a Marine always a Marine, and if your brothers and sisters are going into combat, you want to go, too. And with the jobs that I had, truck driver, mechanic, MP, I was frontline. I was frontline. And the Gulf War times two was a dirty, deadly, awful battle that's still going on now. And that's 01:27:00scary because my son is seventeen, now. And he's going into the same one that happened seventeen years ago. But I couldn't reenlist because of that, because of being pregnant with him.
SPRAGUE: They didn't allow that at that time?
GALSKE: No, because I would have had to go through MEPS again, would have had togo through the whole process again, to go back in. It's not like, "Hey, I've been here before, just wave me through." You don't get to do that. You have to go through the whole process over again, of getting back in. And they just wouldn't even entertain it.
SPRAGUE: So what were your next steps?
GALSKE: The next step was to go on unemployment, which is the last thing younormally would do, but I went on unemployment because I couldn't find a job and I didn't know what I wanted to do. I didn't finish college. Do I be a 01:28:00paralegal? Well, I can't do that unless I finish school. So it was odds and end jobs all over the place, and I hated that, because it was ten dollars an hour because I didn't have college experience. They didn't care about your military experience. And everything else suffers when your job is falling apart and you're not happy at home and your relationship suffers and all of those things start happening. And so that relationship was severed pretty quickly. I had Brandon May of 2002, and quickly moved back to Reno, Nevada, which is where my mom and my stepdad, so Donna and Glenn, lived. And it was comfortable because they were familiar. They were family to me. And Reno is a beautiful area. And the jobs were good there. I started working in the trucking, transportation, shipping industry, which was familiar-ish to what I was doing. I was 01:29:00a hard worker. I loved working outside, so it was easy for me to do that. I had a great job with them for a while.
SPRAGUE: How did you find the working with civilians was--
GALSKE: Hard. [Luke laughs] You don't even have to finish your question. It'svery hard. It's still hard. It's still hard, all this time later.
SPRAGUE: And what are some of the things that you notice that make it difficultfor you to work with civilians as opposed to being a Marine?
GALSKE: I think it is the fact that anybody in the military coming out,especially active duty, because reserves and National Guard are very different mentalities. But active duty is very mission-driven. We're going to teach you how to do it if you come along with us, or we're going to lead you through it, and we're going to get it done quickly. So you're always moving with a pretty intense posture. And civilians don't. [Laughs] There's no 01:30:00sugarcoating that. Very rarely do you run across a civilian who has the same work ethic that you do coming out of the service. Now, that's a blanket statement. Not everybody is like that. I've met some civilians that I would swear have been in the service because of their attitude towards their work or their job or their pride in what they're doing.
But that's why I think so many military people go get a job, and they just feelslighted, and they go start their own company and become very successful. And usually in that success, they give away most of their money to veteran organizations, to help out, because they know that they got no transition either, so they want to--all of us want to fix that. And it really wasn't until 2008--I had married in 2005, 2008 I had divorced. That is something 01:31:00that you will hear a lot about, too, is that everything is so volatile. Marriages fall apart. You become an alcoholic. You have depression. Yeah, I was drinking. I wasn't an alcoholic, but I needed two beers a night. I needed that just to mull everything over and to just go to sleep.
SPRAGUE: So you had mentioned, in your pre-interview you had talked aboutstarting--where did--in the sequence, you're in Reno, when does the event where you're doing your own financial company, or whatever you're doing, when did that happen?
GALSKE: So in 2008, through my divorce and through the grace of God, I dobelieve this, I had written down on a piece of paper what I wanted in my life. I was so just at rock-bottom. I mean, I was living with my parents 01:32:00again. I had a young child. I just felt like I lost everything. Like, "Who am I? I'm a shell of who I used to be." And I wrote down like, "This is who I want to meet, this is where I want to be, this is the life I want to have." And then I kind of crumpled it up and I threw it away and I thought, "That's just a dream." And it was like God snapped His fingers and turned my world upside down. I ended up coming to Wisconsin [laughs] really in my pursuit to get back to, Michigan, back to my dad, back to raise Brandon around his cousins, and my family, and made a little detour to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
I had one friend here and she lived right here, and I was here on July 21st, of2008, and she simply asked me after two weeks of being here, "I 01:33:00really wish you would stay." And I thought, "Gosh, nobody's ever asked me that." So it's a beautiful little town. The weather was perfect. There was no bugs or lake flies or anything weird. [Laughter] No humidity. And I thought, "Gosh, it's right by the lake. This is beautiful. And what a great place to raise Brandon, to set roots." And I got a job right away working at US Bank. And through US Bank, I was introduced to a gentleman who owned an investment company, whose secretary had retired after eighteen years. And when you're in the right place and you're being obedient to what our good Lord wants you to do and to be, doors open that normally wouldn't be there. And so, within a few months of working for US Bank, I was offered a position to be an office manager and run an investment company, something I had zero experience in doing. No 01:34:00college experience. I was not licensed in doing any kind of financial advising.
And he hired me because of my skillset, being a Marine, being that I'm unafraidto have conversations with people, that I'm easy to get along with, that I'm very mission-driven, that if you give me a task, I will do it without question, I'll figure it out. And that's what he was looking for, for somebody that he didn't have to really guide so much, because when you have somebody for eighteen years, they're on autopilot. So I need that person. And that's what I was for him. And I was with him for eight years. And in that time, I started to recognize veteran organizations in my area, and I thought, "Gosh, I didn't even know those existed." And let me just say all of that, coming here in 2008, I didn't have anything. I didn't have a car. I didn't have a house. I 01:35:00didn't have a job. I was technically displaced. I was homeless with my child. For two weeks, I had nothing.
SPRAGUE: Where did you stay during that time?
GALSKE: I stayed at a women's shelter here in town, called Solution Center. It'san old church. It looks like a castle. So what better to tell your six-year-old that we're going to go stay in a castle and make it an adventure, right?
SPRAGUE: There you go.
GALSKE: It wasn't his fault. He didn't need to know the ugly side of being anadult. And so it became an adventure. And thank goodness for my friend, Renee, she would pick me up in the morning, take me to work, take Brandon to school, and we did that until I found a grant through the state for single working mothers for a car, interest-free, three grand. So I got my first little, bitty, junky car [laughs] but you know what? It got me from where I needed to go to where I needed to be. I got an apartment through--the churches in my 01:36:00area gave me money for a deposit. And I had my job and I just scratched and clawed my way back up and started reading books and getting reinvolved and networking. And it was a long hard process and a lot of tears of learning who I was and what I was capable of doing. And I swore that if I ever got an opportunity to help somebody in my situation, that I would do it.
SPRAGUE: So tell me about founding your organization, the Salute the Troops, ortell me the sequence there.
GALSKE: So I went into business for myself as a network marketer. And that seemsso easy, I'm just going to be a network marketer, and just sell some stuff. And the one thing the company taught me right off the bat was you need to learn who you are, because you can sell something, but why not build the 01:37:00relationship first? And that was really difficult for me because I wasn't all about revisiting feelings. And I don't know if it's like that with anybody else, but I know, like I had said previously in the Marine Corps, we don't deal with feelings. That's really a sign of weakness. But to learn your own triggers, why you have certain thoughts, why you feel a certain way about certain things, how you feel about yourself, the way that you talk to yourself, how are you going to build anybody else up that are going to want to join you in business if you have a terrible opinion of yourself?
And so, I really started to read about self-improvement, figuring that if Icould learn me, then the me that I project in the future will bring in the people that I want into my life. And four months after I moved here, by the way, I met my future husband. He was exactly what I wrote down on that piece of paper, right down to his eye color and where he lived, his 01:38:00experiences. He needed to be a veteran or a first responder, and he was both. [Laughs] Yeah, him and I met four months after I moved to Fond du Lac and that was--we met because somebody else wanted me to go out to a retirement party, which was very strange, and we met. And it was truly a connection from the very first conversation. And he was really a big part of me looking inward. We had a lot of hard conversations and it was really about, "You need to deal with some things but I'm not going anywhere." And that was huge for me, because I had been abandoned so much as a kid, that you don't realize how much you carry with you as an adult until somebody comes and actually makes you take a look at the inside.
And in that, became this dream of, "What can I build to help01:39:00veterans? I don't need the help right now, but how can I help the girl that was me, previous? How do I do that?" And I started to build my own veterans resource center and in that, I met so many people. Still managing the investment company. I found an investor; we went through all this trials and tribulations of building something. He pulled out of the deal four days before construction was supposed to start and I had already quit my job. So here we were, abandoned again. But this time, I looked at it as, "This has got to be a blessing in disguise." Went back and asked for my job back, got it back, and in that, a gentleman walked into my office and said, "I'm doing a fundraiser for Salute the Troops, love to have your support," kind of thing. And he was going to walk out the door and I said, "Wait a minute, I know you." 01:40:00
Well, this wonderful invention called Facebook--who knows what it's going to belike in 150 years, but we knew each other on Facebook, but hadn't met before. But I had liked things that he was doing. Come to find out he was a combat vet, Purple Heart recipient, and I just begged him to be on my board because I was trying to build this new nonprofit. And he said, "We're looking for a treasurer for Salute the Troops." And I thought, "Well gosh, I just lost my investor. Maybe this is what I'm supposed to do, use my financial experience to be a treasurer for this nonprofit." Became the treasure for three months, and basically was offered the executive director position about six months after that, right before my fortieth birthday. And so, in that time I had really grown out of wanting to be in the investment industry, because it was safe and comfortable, and I had a beautiful office, and everything was fine. But I was starting to feel stagnant, like there has to be more to life than 01:41:00just this. And so I threw caution to the wind, I quit my job, and became an executive director for a wonderful nonprofit that was started well before I got my hands on it, but my mission in being a part of this organization is, "We could do more. We don't have to have a lot of money to make connection with people and to help them transition to make them feel like they're a part of something like they did in the service."
And so I thought, "How in the world can I talk to more people? How do I get infront of more people?" And somebody jokingly said to me, "There's this thing called a pageant, a Wisconsin pageant system. They have stages." [Laughs] Okay. So, in 2017, I put my name in the hat to become Mrs. Wisconsin. But of course I was Mrs. Fond du Lac County, first. And I did not win the first year 01:42:00that I competed, but I really truly believed it was because I had a whole hell of a lot of work to do yet. And I wanted to build more programs and meet more people and be more involved. And I did that. I pretty much did not have a summer in 2018, because I was working and driving across this whole state, trying to talk to as many people as possible. And went back in March of 2018--2019 rather, and I won Mrs. Wisconsin.
So here I am on that stage that I talked about wanting to be on, and nobody gavethat to me, it was all of those things that I could have looked back on and said, "Look at all the things that happened to me. Don't you feel sorry for me? Or this is why it should be okay that I'm angry," right? Because you see that a lot with people, with other veterans coming out, and they feel so neglected, when they really have the choice to change it, but they just have to 01:43:00be taught that they can. And so, everything that happened to me I believe happened for me, in order for me to even have met you, to meet my interviewer, to meet people in the state that appreciate what veterans have gone through, and to put these stories out there for other people to hear that need to hear that you can. You can change your circumstances by changing your mind about what you've gone through and use that to help other people.
SPRAGUE: So what do you think, in terms of--what did it mean to you to serve asa woman in the military?
GALSKE: Oh boy, that's a huge question. I really do believe that it01:44:00really should be everybody's duty to serve two years in the service, not just in the Marine Corps. But I felt it was my obligation. I am honored to walk in the same footsteps as Opha May Johnson, who was the first female veteran in the Marine Corps. I mean, the women that came before me, I am not half as strong as they were, to really, truly be in situations that I can't even imagine being in, going to boot camp as the first female, going through things that nobody else could. I mean, it's an honor for me to be able to even say that I did. And why wouldn't I want to be a part of that?
SPRAGUE: So how do you think the military changed your life?
GALSKE: It wasn't until now, until 2019 when I really reflect back on01:45:00everything. I always felt like the Marine Corps gave me my life, but really, I think that it polished everything that I had inside and brought it out so that I could survive at a time in my life when it got really dark. I was out in 2001, 2008 I was homeless. So it had really nothing to do directly with the Marine Corps, but if I had not been a Marine, I don't know that I could have looked at myself in the mirror and went, "You are a Marine. Get your shit together." I just don't know that I would have been able to have that conversation with myself, or to be able to take care of my son the way that I did for so long by myself, to go out and continually get kicked, and still get up, and want to come back and try harder and do more and that giving spirit, to be the 01:46:00light in other people's world. I don't know that I would have been able to do that. I certainly wouldn't be sitting where I am. I wouldn't be here with Salute the Troops if I hadn't had the Marine Corps as my foundation, a super strong foundation.
SPRAGUE: So you had mentioned in the pre-interview, and I know from talking toyou, that you're in the National Guard here. Tell me a little bit about that if you would.
GALSKE: Yes. Sure. So through Salute the Troops, I've just learned so muchabout--oh my gosh, everything. But recently the suicide rates have just skyrocketed in a lot of the veteran community, and those guys coming back. They're all post 9/11 veterans, and with Salute the Troops and being 01:47:00able to have all those conversations, I was approached with doing suicide prevention facilitation, and I've received the training to be able to help to teach others how to recognize it, how to ask about it, how to help people with it. And through that training, I meant two officers that were chaplains in the National Guard. And after them hearing my story and my passion behind it, and why I wanted to be Mrs. Wisconsin and why I'm going to Nationals, in two weeks to be Mrs. United States--cross your fingers--[Luke laughs] they said, "With all that passion, have you ever thought about joining the National Guard? You have all the pieces, but we certainly could use a Religious Affairs Specialist that is enlisted, that has prior service in active duty, and a female."
It was like the perfect storm. And I thought, "I kind of do miss01:48:00being in the military. But it's been seventeen years." And the officer goes, "Oh, I was out for seventeen years before I re-enlisted." And I was like, "What?" I mean, he's a major. And I thought, "No way." So, here I go. This is me, the adventurer the "Well, God put it on my heart for a reason, there's got to be a reason," and so I went through the process, in the fall of 2018, to re-enlist and they accepted all of my paperwork and I went to MEPS just like I did when I was eighteen. [Laughter] Same thing. It is still exactly the same, by the way, the duck walk and all of that amazingness. And I enlisted January 31st, of 2019. And I've yet to go to school completely for chaplain assistant, but I'm already actively working in my job and have been for about 01:49:00six months-ish. So yeah, it's different. Very different. I've learned so much, just when you think you know it all. Being on active duty doesn't mean anything. You have got to walk in other people's shoes before you have an opinion, because the National Guard is a totally different beast. And a lot of my fellow Marine friends are like, "Oh, you're in the Army now?" [Laughs]
SPRAGUE: Yeah, tell me about that and about the experience, I assume WisconsinNational Guard?
[Pause in recording]
SPRAGUE: Okay, and why did you agree to do this interview?
GALSKE: I think it goes back to being the two percent. I will always be the twopercent of the service. And it was not easy. And I figured, what a 01:50:00great thing to do for my family. Because when I talk to my grandparents, my grandfather has since been gone twenty-five years now, but when I get to talk to my grandmother about my grandfather's National Guard experience, I didn't even know that until recently. So it's, you have the thought like, "Wow, I wish I could have a living history of my grandparents," and then I get this phone call that I get to put my voice on something that's going to last forever, that my great-grandchildren are going to be able to listen to and hear my story. And I've always wanted to write a book, so it's just this beautiful--life is wonderful if you allow things to happen and come into your life. And why not? Why wouldn't I like to sit down and tell my story? All of us have one. So if you ever get the opportunity to do it, you should.
SPRAGUE: Is there anything I might have missed?01:51:00
GALSKE: Oh gosh, let's go back. [Laughs] There's certainly always going to bethings that I know I'm going to think about later that, "Oh gosh, I wish I would have said something," but I really talked about the meat of my experiences, and it certainly can leave a little bit to the imagination of the listener, on the things that I've gone through, and maybe in some way it helps them, or at least fills in the gap for family and friends that get listen to this in the future. So I don't think anything was missed. No, I don't.
SPRAGUE: Well, Kim, I appreciate your time today. Thank you. This concludes the interview.
GALSKE: Thank you so much.