It's 9am on a Monday morning and for the first time in a long time, Tanya Corbett isn't sure what to do with her time. That's because the Chief Petty Officer and Navy Counselor was recently celebrated in a retirement ceremony after 24 years of service in the United States Navy.
"It's weird not getting up and going to work," she admitted. While that feeling may take some getting used to, she said the few weeks leading up to this ceremony were overwhelming.
"The last few weeks have been extremely emotional," Corbett said. "The closer I got, the more nervous it gets, you're like, 'Oh my god, what am I supposed to do? Did I take the right step? Yes I am ready. , I'm not ready. Yes, I have to go.'”
Corbett described the last wearing of the uniform that day as "bittersweet," but it's a uniform she's proudly worn in a small town since 1998.
"You either went to college or into the ministry," Corbett said. "When I graduated, college wasn't my thing, school wasn't in my wheelhouse at all."
With college not considered an option, Corbett was left with the military as an option. "All my friends did it, so I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to go.'"
Tanya Corbett is a real maverick
Tanya Corbett also admitted to being influenced by the iconic 1980s film Top Gun. When asked which character she would play, she settled on Goose, played by Anthony Edwards. Like many others who have enlisted in the military, Corbett is a second-generation soldier. Her father was in the Air Force. She said her father was out of town when she signed up. So papers had to be faxed for him to sign.
"They came back twice as fast as they went," she joked. However, the 24 years of service she ultimately served was nearly cut short by an admitted mistake, which she uses as a story to help others. After going AWOL for a short time, she served time in the brig and was almost dishonorably discharged. While describing herself as someone who doesn't ask for help, she made an exception and went to her boss's office.
"I said, 'Chief, I don't want to get kicked out. I want to serve. I want to be here,'” she recalls. Luckily for Corbett, she got another chance. "The moral of the story is don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't let a bad day ruin your career.”
Courtesy of Tanya Corbett
Tanya Corbett made the most of her new opportunity and the results spoke for themselves. From 1998 to 2010, she served as an Aviation Boatswain's Mate Launch and Recovery. She was responsible for the launch and recovery of naval aircraft and the operation and maintenance of launch and recovery equipment. From 2010 until her retirement in 2022, she was the Navy's careers adviser. Among the awards she received are the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. As her active career in serving America has come to an end, she is proud of the work she has put in for most of her life.
“To see the support and love at the ceremony was extremely rewarding. Only with that support, knowing I left the seafarers in good hands and knowing that I helped and supported them, I left on a great note and couldn't feel better.”
As Corbett's playing career has reached its finish line, she knows that many others will begin their own journeys and she wants them to experience all of the blessings that have come their way in her career. So she has good advice for anyone who is about to take the same step she took in 1998.
“Seize every opportunity the military has to offer. We have so many programs for the service members and their families, spouses,” she endorsed. “The service will engage you 100%. Get 110% back, reap the benefits and prepare for life after service from day one.”
Courtesy of Tanya Corbett
What's next for Tanya Corbett?
Corbett said that while she will spend some of her time working as a bartender, she will also devote a lot of time and effort to another passion of hers - powerlifting. After Corbett started lifting while stationed in Arizona, he became well acquainted with the platform.
"I started working with some great powerlifters in Phoenix and seeing what the human body is capable of... I never thought I would be strong enough."
Corbett has competed in the 132-pound and 148-pound raw divisions with a knee brace. That means she doesn't use equipment like a bench press shirt or squat suit. She said she has dealt with medical issues for the last few years, but those days are now behind her. On vember 6, 2021, Corbett competed in the United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) Illinois Drug-Tested Championships in the 132-pound class and set three national records in the squat (248 pounds), bench press (137.8 pounds ) to ) and the total (655.8 pounds). Her deadlift that day wasn't a record, but pulling 270 pounds at 132 pounds bodyweight is still impressive. One athlete she's inspired by is professional powerlifter and IFBB Pro League Women's Bodybuilder Hunter Henderson. Although Corbett has no plans to take to the stage herself, she hopes to reach the elite level of her sport like Henderson did and she wants to compete in a powerlifting event traditionally held at the Olympia.
"I won't stop until I get there," she said emphatically. Based on the achievements she has already achieved; Her chances of success were very high.
Follow Tanja on Instagram: @typhoon_830