Naval author comes home to sign books

Naval author comes home to sign books


Being attached to the vessel that fired missiles at Syria in April 2018 is one of Neshoba County native Skyla Pearson’s most compelling stories, she says of a new book.

“I wrote letters home during that time and kept them in a plastic bag since I didn’t know if I would make it home,” Pearson said. “I was still new to the Navy at the time.”

The books is about the diary she kept and her stories as a black female in the United States Navy.

Pearson, a Stallo native, said being able to sign and sell books about her military experiences in her hometown makes her the happiest she’s ever been in her life. 

“Neshoba is the place that made me who I am,” Pearson said. “I grew up in a little community called Stallo, right near Noxapater. Being able to come back here and sell my work here is elating.”

Pearson, 28, is an LS2 Air/Surface Warfare (Second Class Petty Officer) in the U.S. Navy. 

She is hosting a book signing for her new work, “The Enlisted: The Price of Service No One Tells You,” at the Neshoba County Library on May 7. 

Pearson’s book is taken from journal entries she kept during her five years of service in the U.S. Navy, and from interviews with women and men she met during tours in Virginia, California, and on the open seas.

Pearson also recalled her time in Cairo where she saw the Great Sphinx of Giza statue, discovered the culture of Spain and Oman, and dealt with things like menstruation and theft in the middle of the ocean.

The Great Sphinx of Giza is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature with the head of a human, and the body of a lion. Facing directly from west to east, it stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. The face of the Sphinx appears to represent the pharaoh Khafre.

“You have to deal with things like being a parent while deployed and deal with possible medical issues,” Pearson said. “I expect readers to get a sense of what things are like in the military day-to-day. It’s not until you get enlisted that you realize there are so many things no one told you about.”

“I’m focused and determined to help at least one person see the full picture before making a multi-year commitment where the only thing that is truly certain is uncertainty itself,” she said. 

In her book, Pearson discusses the tough realities she faced as a black, enlisted woman serving in the U.S. Navy, and draws attention to what other young women have a chance of encountering.

She joined the military simply to help pay for her college education and said it was a stepping stone that helped her out of a rut. 

“People should know what goes on and what to expect in the military,” Pearson said. “My goal is to help at least one person, and if I can prevent at least one person from taking their own life, I’ve done what I was here to do. This book will help people not feel alone.” 

Pearson’s home church is Mt. Ary Missionary Baptist Church, and she is currently a student at the University of Alabama, majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. She said she wants to lead controversial conversations that will lead to change. 

In her book, Pearson recalls her long and often unbearable days spent in the middle of the ocean on both a destroyer and aircraft carrier during her two deployments. 

Pearson gives readers a close-up glimpse into the treatment she received along with other female soldiers trying to “cope with and maneuver in a field that draws us in with alluring promise, but reluctantly welcomed us once we’re sworn in.” 

Despite her more challenging experiences during her years of service, Pearson recalled visiting multiple countries and meeting people she would be friends with for life. 

“There’s nothing like the people you meet in the military and the bonds you create with them,” she said. “Some of my best friends were made through the military. Going to different countries like Spain, Egypt, Africa, and other places like that was amazing.”

Pearson earned the Navy’s Good Conduct Medal while serving from 2017 to 2021, as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Chris Schafer, CEO at Tactical 16 Publishing, said Pearson’s story showcases her resilience and drive to share her experiences in hopes of helping other young women contemplating a career in the military.  

“I greatly admire her determination and courage to bring change to the military system,” Schafer said. “This book is a must-read!”

Pearson will sign her books at the Neshoba County Library from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Each signed book is $30. 

“The Enlisted” is also available for purchase online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart. 

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