Never Say Never
LT Corinne Devin, DDS, Dental Corps, USN
“When I was Ms. United States, I went to speak to a group of middle school girls. I really wanted to show these girls that, yes, you can be in the military, but you can also be a doctor and you can be Ms. United States."
— LT Corinne Devin, DDS, Dental Corps, USN
Corinne Devin had no intention of following in her father’s footsteps.
“I was born and raised in the Navy. My dad was a Navy Dentist for 20 years. My mom was a civil servant. My uncle was in the Coast Guard and my grandfather was in the Marines in World War II. Growing up, I remember my dad going on deployment to Operation Desert Storm and thinking to myself, ‘Never in a million years will I do this!’ Well, I’ll never say never again.”
LT Devin had every intention of keeping that promise. She attended St. Mary’s College of California as a communications major and she had her heart set on becoming an entertainment news anchor. Instead she found herself working with her father during her summer break. Becoming a dentist was only the first of those “nevers” that LT Devin changed her mind about. The next was her decision to join the Navy.
“I literally followed in my father’s footsteps. It’s almost ironic how close my career is to his. So when I was thinking about dental school, I looked into the cost and wondered how I was going to pay for it. I saw that the Navy Health Professions Scholarship Program pays up to 100% of tuition, and they also give you a monthly stipend. You give them years of service in return. So, for me, they paid for three of my four years of dental school and I gave them back three years of service.”
In 2009, after finishing dental school, LT Devin found herself deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to Al Asad, Iraq. Not only did she break her promise to never follow in her father’s footsteps by going to the Middle East, LT Devin actually made it a “must” on her list of things to do.
“Deployment is my favorite experience in the Navy, hands down. It pushes you. I’d never dreamed that I’d be carrying a rucksack that weighs two times my weight or that I’d be shooting an AK-47 as a dentist. There were times during the physical tests when I’d fall down, and I would have to get up again. This kind of challenge gives you a chance to push yourself. I think that when you fall down and you learn how to pick yourself back up, that’s when you’re truly successful. And I learned that from being stationed with the Marines while I was deployed at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar.”
She sees deployment as one of the perks of being in the Navy rather than being a negative. She thrives on the challenges the Navy offers and sees herself as being even more successful as both a dentist and a person.
An Officer and a Beauty Queen
In addition to being an orthodontist and a lieutenant in the Navy, LT Devin is also a beauty queen. She’s been crowned Ms. Texas, Ms. United States and is currently serving her reign as Ms. Galaxy 2014. LT Devin became involved in pageants during her second year of dental school when a classmate suggested that she give it a try. Another classmate told her that she could never do it because she’d never win.
That was all she needed to hear – within a year she was competing in pageants. Though it might seem incongruous to have a tough-as-nails dentist who can hold an AK-47 alongside Marines participating in beauty pageants, LT Devin disagrees.
“The same camaraderie that attracted me to the military is why I do pageantry. I know it seems like two extremes, but in both of these areas, you have to push yourself physically and mentally and prepare yourself to do something where you don’t know what’s going to come at you. You have to be prepared for anything and everything in both of these worlds. And you need the support of others to accomplish it.
“When I won my first national title and then when I left for Iraq, it was the girl who was the first runner-up, the girl who barely missed the chance of beating me to the crown, who sent me care packages in Iraq. And when I moved from California to Texas, my pageant friends were the people I stayed with and who helped me find a place to live. I think that’s no different than people in the military. When you move to a new place, you feel you have instant friends – people who want to make you feel welcomed in your new home. It’s that special sense of camaraderie and teamwork that exists in both the pageant world and in the military. And I feel fortunate to have found that kind of camaraderie in life. That’s really rare. To find it twice, even more so.”
— LT Corinne Devin, DDS, Dental Corps, USN