SAN ANTONIO — There was a time Master Sergeant Pamela Torre was part of an important chapter in our nation’s history.
“It was absolutely an amazing journey,” Torre said. “I was one of the first few women to get into a major theater of operation and I worked right alongside my army counterparts.”
Torre was deployed to Kuwait from 2003 to 2005 where she also did multiple missions in and out of Iraq “our primary mission was strictly redeployment operations, getting people home,” Torre said as she recalled her time in the Middle East. She served for 23 years.
And after she returned to the U.S., and retired from the 149th Fighter Wing, Texas Air National Guard, Torre decided she wanted to keep serving.
Today you’ll see she has kept her promise.
“I touch the future. I teach,” an emotional Torre continued.
You’ll find her at Virginia Allred Stacey Junior/Senior High school at Lackland ISD, also serving, just in a different capacity. She’s teaching 6th and 7th graders geography and history.
“Coming back into the classroom, I remembered I was Mrs. Torre. Not Sergeant Torre,” She said, “It was a joy because the kids, I was teaching elementary school at the time 3rd, 4th and 5th grades, would walk a little taller,” Torre explained, “Because my teacher was a soldier part-time. That kind of thing!”
And she makes sure to bring that personal experience into the class. It is what makes her stories not only interesting to the kids but real.
“We got lost on a mission and we had to find our way back,” she added, “It was pretty scary. It caused you to take a gasp but we got through it because I’m here.”
And when I asked her what she hopes her students take from her story, “Attention to detail,” Torre said. "And if you don’t understand the direction. Ask.”
After 21 years of sharing stories in the classroom, the kids still find her relatable because Torre never forgot her roots. She too grew up a military brat.
“She just like kind of knows how we feel about moving and how hard it is to meet new people and adjust to a new school,” one student said.
While Torre added “These guys will tell you as military children. They’ve experienced their own challenges moving around.”
And the things we might find small, Torre said, could be important for the children.
“Something as simple as forgetting a homework assignment can be traumatic for students. Knowing mom and dad are getting deployed and it was a no-notice deployment.”
Now she says her most important duty is to help guide those kids, she considers her own.
“This is what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s that important,” said an emotional Torre.
Lackland ISD Superintendent Dr. Burnie Rope said this about Torre “We appreciate her service to our country. She’s an amazing teacher and we appreciate her being here and everything she does for our kids.”
The military and education run in Torre’s blood. Both her parents, whom she calls her heroes, were teachers and her father fought in World War II on the B17 crew.
Torre’s husband is also an Army Veteran.
Call her Master Sergeant Torre or Mrs. Torre, either way, she plans on staying in San Antonio and says despite 21 years of teaching, she doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon.
“I tell my classes and they’ve heard this more than a hundred times. Nobody tells our story better than we do. And that’s my mission is to have complete clarity of who we are. How we started. Where we are going. What the future looks like and what our impact is on the world. Today, tomorrow, next week, next year and next generation.”