Chelsey Darrow graduated from Montana State University in 2009 and was commissioned through the Reserve Officers Training Corps as an Intelligence officer. After graduation, she was stationed at Fort Bliss, TX, serving as an operations and planning officer and Signals Intelligence Platoon leader. In 2011 her unit deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While deployed, she led her 14-soldier platoon on various missions supporting combat operations. During the second half of the deployment she served as a battalion level intelligence officer. In 2012, she made the transition to civilian life. Her husband was subsequently stationed in Germany, where they lived for a year and a half. There were many amazing opportunities for outdoor adventure, rock climbing, and mountaineering and she completed her first winter alpine ascent.
In 2014, she moved back to California and started a career with Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit that trains service dogs for veterans, adults, and children with disabilities free of charge. She was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning from Afghanistan and training these amazing dogs for fellow veterans saved her life. Before Afghanistan, Chelsey was extremely active and pursued mountaineering and rock climbing, but things have been more challenging and coping with the anxiety is often impossible. With the help of her friends and family, she reached out and started getting help. Part of getting back “on track” and healing is getting back into the outdoors.
Through the WarriorStrong experience, she hopes to take the first step in reclaiming her life and getting back into the mountains she loves so much. She is looking forward to meeting and working with other veterans and hearing their experiences.