To celebrate Veterans Day, EM highlights former service members who have joined EM on their journey in civilian work-life.

What is your name and what do you do at EM?

So Yon Bedlington, Environmental Engineer overseeing the Ecological Compliance and Monitoring Program at the Department of Energy (DOE), Hanford.

What branch did you serve in; when; where stationed?

Army
West Point (1992-1996)
Fort Leonard Wood (1996-1997)
US Navy Dive and Salvage Training Center (1997)
Fort Eustis (1997-1999)
Fort Leonard Wood (1999-2002)

Photo of So Yon Bedlington (on right)
So Yon Bedlington (on right)

Most memorable event/moment during your service?

Being one of two Engineer Officers selected to go to dive school.  Attending Basic Dive Officer and Salvage Dive courses in beautiful Panama City, Florida at the Navy’s Dive and Salvage Training Center.  Becoming the Army’s first female dive officer and going on dive missions and operations all around the world while serving as the Dive Team Lead for the 544th and 86th Army Dive Detachments at Fort Eustis, VA. 

How has your military service helped prepare you for the job you do in EM?

Oftentimes, I would dive into cold, dark waters and had to rely on my instincts, self-awareness, training, and situational awareness to overcome the lack of visibility.  In many situations within the DOE, I have been assigned programs and projects that I have little knowledge or experience in.  Approaching these situations is somewhat similar in that I would rely on my instincts, training, and overview of the situation to quickly come up to speed on various programs and projects.

When did you begin working for EM and what got you interested in the cleanup mission?

I started working for EM after the Yucca Mountain Project ended in 2010.  I have a Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering from the United States Military Academy (West Point).  I chose this particular major because I have always been an environmentalist at heart and cleaning up the environment for future generations has always been a passion since then. 

Read more EM Veteran Interviews