Army Capt. Caroline “Leigh” Schofield Auletta never really imagined a career in the military even though it was very much a way of life for her family, but one question can completely alter your life course. That was certainly the case for Auletta.
Every male on her mother’s side and her father’s side served in the armed services, dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War. “When I thought of the military, I thought of my dad or my grandfather,” she said.
While pursuing an art degree at 21 years old, she asked herself Where am I going after this? Her own profound revelation led her to leave her full scholarship at a Top 25 Division I school and become a 5th generation West Point graduate with a Bachelor of Science in System Engineering.
As a player on the Varsity Women’s Soccer team before West Point, she continued her passion at West Point, and eventually became Graduate Assistant and Assistant Coach for the Women’s Soccer team, where she earned her U.S. Soccer Federation Coaching License. She was responsible for recruiting future scholar-athletes and leaders for the United States Military Academy, and was also selected for the All Armed Forces Women’s Soccer team.
“I deployed to Iraq and went to air assault school, where I learned how to rappel out of helicopters. At the time, physically, it wasn’t all that difficult for me, but I also was training for the Military World Olympics — I played soccer, and got to compete in Hyderabad, India — so I was at the peak of physical fitness,” Auletta said.
Following in her father’s path, Auletta was assigned to the 8th Engineer Battalion; he had served with the same battalion in the Vietnam War. Promoted to Captain, she was deployed with the 8th Engineers to Iraq, and was responsible for the deployment and distribution of counter-IED vehicles. She continued Active Duty after returning to the states and transitioned to the U.S. Army reserves in June 2011 and then to the Individual Ready Reserves in 2014.
“The military totally shaped me into the person I am today.”
Auletta knows all too well that returning home is a tough transition. “Some people have different views on why we should be at war. But that’s when we need to remember it’s not about the war, it’s about the warrior.”
In her current role as the Veteran Outreach Director for the Long Island Chapter of Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB), Auletta focuses on enriching veteran’s lives through constant physical and social activities. As a mentor to other female veterans, she offers peer support and engagement to returning Long Island veterans.
She and her husband, Nick, also a decorated Army Captain, have four sons.
In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.