REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. –
Nearly every male in Erica Huettel’s family has been in the military at some point. In her own way, she has continued that tradition.
“Both of my brothers started in the Army after high school,” the Bishop, California, native said.
After completing her bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, Huettel was accepted into a Navy outstanding scholar internship as a logistics management specialist. “I was told that the job would be different every day and the variety sounded interesting,” she said.
The job didn’t disappoint.
As part of the Navy mine countermeasures community, Huettel supported the mission of clearing the ocean of sea mines to protect people and freight on ships.
After seven years, Huettel switched teams and moved over to the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command where she works in AMCOM’s Security Assistance Management Directorate. Though admittedly not one to root for sports teams, she said she’s “decidedly Team Army these days”.
“I am the Romanian Patriot manager, which means selling and managing the Patriot systems delivered to Romania via the Foreign Military Sales process,” she said.
Huettel said traveling is her passion. She’s been fortunate enough to have a job that allows her to do just that. She’s been able to do what she loves – at least pre-pandemic – while simultaneously supporting the warfighter.
Huettel has been with AMCOM for 10 years – more than half of her total 17 years of government service – and has a unique vantage point.
“Providing an air and defense capability benefits the United States by building interoperability with allies and partners and [lowers] the unit costs for the U.S.-based on group buys,” she said.
“For me, it’s important that what I do make a difference,” Huettel said. “At the end of each day, I need a sense of accomplishment.”
Describing herself as “oddly good at organization”, Huettel’s knack for organization and attention to detail have served her – and the organizations for which she’s worked – well.
“I think my brain is just wired for organization,” she said. “It helps with [everything from] planning meetings [and] making agendas, through ensuring you have everything required for a successful program review.”
Jesuán Molina, AMCOM SMD Multinational Branch chief, is Huettel’s supervisor and said Huettel is a key member of the Patriot team.
“She has been one of the main Strategic Missile Defense Division facilitators and participants for critical milestones between Romania, [U.S] government and support contractors,” Molina said. “Without her efforts, the [government] would have missed the milestones required to deliver the first U.S. air and missile defense capability to our Romanian partners.”
“As someone highly motivated by a sense of accomplishment, this position at SAMD provides a sense of satisfaction,” Huettel said.
Apart from the gratification she gets with being an integral part of a team and mission success, Huettel said she loves seeing new places and meeting new people.
Her favorite destinations for official travel have been Poland, Sweden and Romania – where she’s been about five times in the last four years.
“With the pandemic, overseas travel has been really limited,” she said. “For a while, through the spring and summer, we were doing a hike every weekend and finding a new waterfall within driving distance.”
She said she hopes to get to France, Iceland, the Netherlands and Tahiti at some point.
For now, when she’s not at work supporting the warfighter, she’ll continue to hike, read and run until she can try the next “something new”.