by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs
3/5/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- "I didn't know I had been selected until I received a platoon-wide text message which read:
Congratulations Private First Class Mehring, you've been selected to be the BOSS president; please be in your office at 0900."
"I sat down and, at first, was very lost," said Spc. Natalie Mehring, of
Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Alaska, and
president of Better Opportunities for Single Service members. "It's a
whole different dynamic to being a representative."
BOSS is an organization designed to enhance the quality of life for
single Soldiers and Airmen. BOSS provides activities for the
junior-enlisted force - like all-terrain vehicle trips, hiking trips and
local events at discounted prices.
"We boost service members' morale by hosting events that take them out
of their barracks," Mehring said. "So they get to truly see the beauty
As a volunteer-oriented program, BOSS also provides an opportunity for
junior-enlisted to make a difference in their community and stand out as
leaders while they do it.
One such program is Joint Base Against Drunk Driving, which provides
free rides to ensure service members can make it home safe after a night
out on the town. JBADD averages 10 to 20 safely transported service
members every weekend.
Mehring earned the position of BOSS president, a slot normally reserved
for noncommissioned officers, as a private first class - a direct result
of her extensive volunteer work as a BOSS representative for her unit.
"As representatives, we would take notes of upcoming events; ideas for
upcoming events; and issues people would bring up regarding quality of
life," Mehring said. "We would brief for five minutes at the safety
brief every Friday and offer volunteer opportunities for the unit."
As a representative, Mehring organized a domestic-violence seminar which
provided practical information to service members on how to protect
themselves and others.
"As a representative, you push out the information, and the president
tells you to to make sure everyone knows about the events," Mehring
said. "As the president, I have a bigger role in what happens in the
"It made me nervous," she said.
By having a position fundamentally driven by leadership, Mehring is now
in a position to lead in ways a junior-enlisted Soldier normally might
However, with opportunities come expectations.
"Due to the whole gamut of things that need to be done, you normally put
that [expectation] on an NCO because they're used to doing it in their
natural work environment," said Bill Miracle, BOSS advisor and program
manager for the Warrior Zone. "It's rare that you get a PFC who has it
together enough to handle it. She's an incredible speaker, she always
knows what she's talking about and she's continually growing" Miracle
The role of president is a temporary duty Mehring will support until her permanent change of station.
However, within BOSS there are many opportunities service members can
hop right into and begin their own path to success. One such opportunity
is the role of vice president, which is considered an additional duty.
"When I first got up here, I stayed in my barracks. I didn't want to go
out and I didn't know anybody. I was kind of a lost private," said Spc.
Bridget Augustine, the BOSS vice president and a linguist with Delta
Company, 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion (Airborne), 4th Infantry Brigade
Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.
"After becoming more involved, I became aware of the benefits it
creates. I got out there and realized [BOSS] is more than just
supporting single service members," She said. "It creates an awareness
of all the opportunities available for us."
"What matters to me is the happiness of the service members," Mehring said. "You get here, you don't know anybody, you're alone.
"I dont ever want anybody to feel that way."
By volunteering and maintaining a positive attitude, Mehring opened the
door to a unique career opportunity she can use to fuel her momentum
Opportunities like this may not always go smoothly; but Mehring said it's worth the effort.
"You have to fall a couple times before you can be strong enough to
stand on your own two feet," Mehring said. "So I have failed, I learned
from it and I feel like where I am now is phenomenal."
For more information on BOSS and how to get involved, visit their Facebook page or call 384-9023.