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Kortney Ruiz-Fink

Corps Grad ’10

Kortney FinkI was born in Balboa, California and raised in Gilbert, Arizona. Upon commissioning at graduation, I reported to the Guided Missile Destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) in Norfolk, Virginia, serving as legal officer and administrative officer and then auxiliaries officer and making one deployment to the Middle East. During this tour I successfully transitioned into the human resources community. Upon disembarking the James E. Williams, I was transferred to the United States Naval Academy to be the enlisted personnel officer and training officer. When I leave the United States Naval Academy in May of 2016, I will be going to Great Lakes, Illinois, where I will be the operations officer for Naval Recruit District, Chicago. My personal decorations include Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service, National Defense Service, Pistol Marksmanship Medal, Rifle Marksmanship Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.


What about your time at The Citadel had the most positive impact on your career or life?
Having joined the military after I graduated, I think the emphasis The Citadel places on the idea of duty has probably been the most impactful ideology in my life and in my career. In my line of work and in my life, I have seen a lot of people who don’t understand the importance of duty and how it pertains to their home life and their work life, and I wouldn’t have as strong a sense of it had I gone to school anywhere else. As an officer, duty is sacrificing your personal time to ensure that your people are being taken care of. As a person, duty is making small (or big) sacrifices so that you can provide for your family; it’s going out of your way to help family and friends because that’s what your duty to them is; it’s driving eight hours to Rhode Island to go to your Godson’s christening because you’re the Godmother and it’s your duty to be there. Duty doesn’t just apply to your line of work; it applies to your life and the relationships you make.

How do you think your experience at The Citadel got you to where you are now?
My experiences at The Citadel guided me to make the decision to become an officer, and shaped how I operate in work and in life. When I experienced any animosity, it helped me decide right then and there that if I ever had the opportunity to stand up for people who couldn’t stand up for themselves, then I would take it. Being an officer has been an extremely rewarding experience, and I wouldn’t have it if it weren’t for how The Citadel shaped my decisions.

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