2021 Tillman Scholar

Julie Bologna

College of William & Mary

“As a veteran and a spouse, I’ve fought for my mental wellness. As a counselor, I will help veterans and their families pursue the wellness they deserve.”

Julie joined the Navy looking for community. As a sailor, she found acceptance, support and lasting connections. After completing hospital corpsman school, she worked on a labor and delivery ward before volunteering to deploy to Operation Desert Storm. While overseas, she served in a unit delivering blood products to all casualty receiving facilities, including field hospitals and ships.

After returning stateside, Julie attended paramedic school and returned to the hospital to work in the emergency department. In 1993, Julie earned her aircrew wings at aircrew search and rescue school and became one of two female search and rescue corpsman in the Atlantic fleet. She flew diverse missions, from medical evacuation, search and rescue, and search and recovery. During this time, she received numerous awards and commendations, including the Sikorsky Life Saving Medal. Concurrently, Julie also witnessed firsthand the need for mental health counseling for service members and their families.

After leaving the Navy, Julie continued to serve the military community as an ombudsman at two of her husband’s commands while he served as a Navy SEAL. As an ombudsman, she connected families to commands and to resources. Serving as part of the death and injury notification team, Julie solidified her passion to provide mental health services to Gold Star families. She is now pursuing her master’s degree in counseling, with a specialization in military and veterans mental health.