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By Donna Cipolloni

Tester staff writer

Lolita Tyler-Lockett, new parent support program manager for the Fleet and Family Support Center at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, has a family history of military service.

Her great-grandfather, Alexander Tyler, served during the Civil War with a unit that fought at the Battle of Gettysburg; her father, Alonzo Tyler, served in World War II with the Army Corps of Engineers; Tyler-Lockett served in the Army, Army Reserve and the Air Force; and her youngest son, Broderick, currently carries on the legacy as a pilot flying the KC-135 at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.

It all started for her, personally, in college where she was enrolled in Army ROTC and majored in Pre-Med/Biology. After commissioning, she was accepted to become an Army helicopter pilot; however, she decided to give up the risky position for her family and husband, after finding out she was expecting their first child.

Tyler-Lockett continued on active duty as a line officer for eight years and racked up a distinguished career with the Army in transportation management, Army advanced individual training operations and human relations management.

She continued her military career in the Army Reserve, as a company executive officer and commander, and was promoted to the rank of major while pursuing a second Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. That’s when the Air Force came calling.

“I learned of their need for nurses, especially in the obstetrics field, which is what I had come to love,” Tyler-Lockett said. “In September 1994, I was back on active duty as an Air Force nurse.”

She finally finished her military and Air Force career at Andrews Air Force Base in 2006 after holding positions that included nurse manager for the Maternal-Child Unit and the General Surgery Clinic.

By then, she had three adolescent and young adult children; and though she finished her military service, her service to the military was far from over.

A “mother” to others

Just a few months after retiring, Tyler-Lockett arrived at Pax River seeking a job and filled the position in FFSC’s New Parent Support Home Visitation Program (NPSHVP) designed to encourage naval families and empower them with the skills to meet and succeed at military parenthood challenges.

“My job involves in-home visits, prenatal education, breastfeeding assistance and classroom instruction — and it’s been a perfect fit,” she said. “I can take my professional experience as a maternal/child nurse and combine it with my personal experience as a military service member, spouse and mother by helping current military parents raise and care for their children.”

Tyler-Lockett has a love and passion for kids that goes back to her earliest years when, as the youngest of four kids, she was unsuccessful in convincing her mother to have another baby. And though she has no grandchildren of her own yet, some of the toddlers she works with call her “grandma” — a term she considers a title of honor.

“It’s fulfilling to know I can make a difference in someone’s life,” she explained. “I still have clients who call to ask for my help even though they aren’t living locally anymore. And I have a bulletin board in my office filled with the photos of babies I’ve known.”