Freedom Fighters: Joi Anessa Webb - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: Joi Anessa Webb

Joi Anessa Webb. (Source: KLTV) Joi Anessa Webb. (Source: KLTV)

Joi Anessa Webb is retiring from the Army after 22 years, and she admits her mother Laura Turner's service was an inspiration for her joining.

"She was in what they called the WAC's back then. It was the Women's Army Corps," said Webb of her mother.

Joi Anessa had tried to join up right after graduation from John Tyler High School.

"I tried back in 1990 when Desert Storm hit and they raised the score up for service level so I didn't quite make the cut."

But after a four-generation family history in the military, Joi Anessa was determined.

"I said you know I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep on because this is what I'm meant to do."

So, in 1995 she enlisted in the Army and found her next big obstacle was the riggers of basic training.

"When I first started out I'll admit it took me 30 minutes to run two miles. But by the time it was done I was running two miles in sixteen minutes," said Webb.

Joi Anessa's first deployment was to Korea where a fragile armistice has been in effect since the Korean War ended.

"There's still war going on it's just an armistice so any day now anything can happen," said Webb.

In 2003, Joi Anessa was deployed to Iraq with the Third Army. In 2004 she was deployed to Iraq a second time which gave her service in Iraqi Freedom I and III.

"That was when the war initially kicked off so we were in Ramada and it was kind of hot and heavy there so there was a lot going on during that time."

With a job in human resources, replacing soldiers wounded and killed in battle with new arrivals, Joi Anessa was on the road constantly, a road dangerously peppered with the infamous roadside bombs. It seemed that no place was safe.

"We were being shot at whether you were on the road or in the air, so it was intense at times," recalled Webb.

Joi Anessa served in many capacities during her year in the Army, earning two bronze stars, a global war on terrorism medal and other tributes.

The flags that line her family home in Tyler, celebrates her 22-years of service, service that she says has made her who she is today.

"I'm stronger, I'm wiser. I learned things about myself that I never knew."

Joi Anessa's husband Tim, whom she met in the Army, is also retiring as a Sgt. Major.

Looking back at her years in the Army, Joi Anessa Webb says she's proud of what she's accomplished and proud to have been military.

"It doesn't matter your gender, it doesn't matter your race. If you have the heart and the will to do it, you can do it."

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