Perseverance key to airman balancing school, athletics, military

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Michael J. Kelly
  • 132d Wing Public Affairs

Q&A with Airman First Class Patricia Teggatz, 132d Force Support Squadron at the 132d Wing, Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines, Iowa and former University of Iowa Track & Field athlete.

Q: How did you hear about the 132d Wing and what was your reason for joining the military?

TEGGATZ: I have long family lineage of military service. My two uncles, grandfather and dad were all in the service and I pretty much knew from the beginning that I wanted to join. I also thought about how to incorporate school into that. My dad worked out here (132d Wing) so I knew about the benefits of the Guard and was confident I could have a good balance of school and military service. So, in 2018, two weeks before I graduated Hampton-Dumont High School, I enlisted.

Q: What lead you to walk on at the University of Iowa and what opportunities and challenges did that bring?

TEGGATZ: As a track and field athlete at my high school, I always dreamed about being a Hawkeye and running for Iowa. It’s just always been something in the back of my mind. My dad and I took a trip to Iowa City and was sold. I was able to get a spot on the roster running the 1500 meter and 3000 meter races.

Q: How did you manage being a Division 1 college athlete, school work, and military service all at the same time?

TEGGATZ: The Air National Guard, school and the track team have pretty much been the biggest things in my life but it was extremely hard sometimes. I had to regularly communicate with my supervisors and coaches to make everything work. Master Sgt. Nick Fleury was incredibly supportive in helping me navigate and balance my service and track commitments. I would wake up at 4:30 am on drill weekends to get my long runs in for the practice I was missing. My coaches at Iowa were also very understanding and accommodating to me during my military training. Through it all, I never missed an event I was slated to run in.

Q: What are some lessons you learned from both track and the military?

TEGGATZ: Perseverance. Perseverance is probably one of my favorite words because it means that there are tough times. There’s always going to be tough times, obstacles and challenges to overcome no matter if you enjoy something or not. Whether it was school, track or the military, I knew challenges were coming. Knowing how to approach them in a calm and professional way really helped me to succeed.

Q: What do you plan to do in the future?

TEGGATZ: I’ve always had a huge interest in politics, law, current events and government. I really see myself working in an aspect of all of those. Washington D.C. as always been intriguing to me since I was young and went on a trip there. With my degree in political science and business from Iowa, I will be taking an internship in Washington D.C. for the office of Sen. Joni Ernst. I also see myself having an extensive and long career in the Air National Guard, possibly commissioning someday.