Girls can’t be G.I. Joe, they told Becca Queen Hegyesi … And she proved them wrong.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Becca Queen Hegyesi served in the Army as an M.P. for four years.

OKEECHOBEE — Becca Queen Hegyesi was born and raised in Okeechobee. She graduated from Okeechobee High School in 1999 and worked for the Lake Okeechobee News, which at that time was called the Okeechobee News, until she joined the service. In May of 2000, she joined the Army and went to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. She did her advanced training there as well and was trained as a military police officer.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Today, Veteran Becca Hegyesi is a financial analyst.

When her training was completed, she was sent to Germany around the beginning of 2001. For the first six months, she did typical garrison work, she explained. This is similar to the work done by a local police force. Most of the things she did after that, she is unable to discuss in detail, but it was more investigative-type work. She spent a little over three years in Germany, which gave her a total of four years active duty, then she spent another four years in the reserves.

When she arrived in Germany, she said it was a big adjustment. It took about six months to get used to it. “It’s a completely different culture over there,” she said. “It’s more of a slower pace of life than we are used to over here, but it was amazing.” She was there when 9/11 happened, and she said it was pretty scary. She had no idea what was going on, being in the military and having the helicopters and tanks and the patrols all on lockdown. “It was probably one of my scariest things in my military career, but it was also really amazing. The Germans put flowers and signs and things outside of the post. You would go out the main gate, and there was a huge banner across the street saying, ‘We stand with you. We support you.’ That experience for me, seeing the different cultures come together and the support, it was pretty amazing,” she said.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Veteran Becca Queen Hegyesi joined the Army about a year after her graduation from Okeechobee High School.

She spent two years in Wurzberg, and when she first arrived, she said she was so cold, she was like a marshmallow puff. “I had to wear so many clothes! It was so cold coming from Florida.” Really, though, she said the weather is pretty mild. It doesn’t get very hot in the summer, and it doesn’t get too cold in the winter, despite what she thought when she first arrived. “It was beautiful, too, all the fields looked like patchwork quilts. It was just really pretty.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Becca Hegyesi planned to grow up and become G.I. Joe, but everyone told her girls couldn’t do that. She proved them wrong.

She would recommend joining the military to young people today. She remembers thinking about it when she was young and watched the war on the news. She remembers seeing it all green from night vision and seeing explosions. For her, as a child, it was something that made her want to be brave. She used to tell everyone she wanted to be G.I. Joe when she grew up, and they laughed at her, telling her, “Girls can’t do that.” But, that just made her extra determined to join the military.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
This is one of veteran Hegyesi’s favorite pictures. “That experience was something else. You don’t realize how well the masks work until you take them off,” she said.

“It was just an extra push to do the hard things. I think that experience and seeing how well you can work with other people, even if you had differences — you could become a team and it became automatic. It shaped how I viewed my career and everything I’ve done after that as far as working with a team of people. When you work, you don’t always get along with everybody. I’ve always wanted to make a difference, and it set the pace for me and made me realize my own strengths. So, I definitely think it’s not something a lot of women think about doing, but it was a really good experience for me.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Becca Hegyesi is pictured with her daughter Neleah (left) and stepdaughter Katalina.

“In the military, it is drilled into you that you are only as strong as your weakest link, so everybody is going to have things they are better at than others, but you kind of learn to work around that and become a well-oiled unit to fill in the gaps.”

When she first left the military, she worked for the American Cancer Society for a few years, but now she works as a financial analyst.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment