What began as a Momma building an adventure for her family was just the turn of events The Rambo family needed after a long road to the right path.
Marine Corps Veteran Jessica Rambo is still not he path heading towards success after service. Joining the Marine Corps soon after high school, Rambo wanted to be an Artist. “with a family of military members, I knew there were alternative jobs to the basics. I didn’t want to just be a Marine, I wanted to have an impact.” After doing research, I found information about Combat Camera. After Educating the recruiter about the job. I enlisted. After Graduating bootcamp at MCRD Parris Island, Rambo went to Marine Combat Training (MCT) at Camp Lejeune and then on to Basic Lithographer school at Fort Meade, MD.After graduating from MOS school Rambo was stationed at Camp Smith, Marine Corps Forces Pacific, Hawaii. During her time in Hawaii, Rambo had the privilege to travel and telling the Marine Corps story. Marines have stories.
After honing her skills as a basic Combat Cameraman, Graphics Marine, Rambo was promoted and sent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, The Cross roads of the Marine Corps. Here, Rambo got to expand her creativity in the photo and video departments and gain valuable leadership training. During her time at Quantico, Rambo was in a terrible car accident. This began her trajectory to life outside the Marine Corps. After 3 years at MCBQ, Rambo transitioned to the Pentagon.
At the Pentagon, Rambo was promoted to Sergeant. During this time, Rambo had the opportunity to work with President Obama, congress members, 8th and I ceremonies, Medal of Honor recipients, and foreign dignitaries. After two years as a Combat Cameraman, Rambo was transitioned to the Marine Corps Operations Center within the Pentagon. Here, Rambo’s job was to tract all 182,000 Marines and their movements daily and inform leadership of troop movement. During her time in the Operations Center, Rambo underwent multiple surgeries stemming from her car accident and went through an inpatient treatment facility for server mental health distress. After 10 years in the Marine Corps, Rambo was medically separated.
Trying to find purpose after the transition to civilian life is difficult, Rambo enrolled in Art school at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. Lack of job security, tumultuous family dynamic and the desire to continue serving weighed heavily on her mind every day. As a single mother and a drive to do something more than what is expected she bought a school bus. “Thats the logical thing to do right? I deeply felt like I needed to get rid of the excess and focus on the most important things, each other”.
A Mission to Giving Back
Painted Buffalo Traveling Studio is rooted in the love of creating, bringing families together, and growing from your trauma. “I wanted to do something wild. I wanted to prove to myself that when I set my mind to something I complete it. I felt like I didn’t complete my mission in the Marine Corps, I was struggling to get through art school, and I wanted to show myself and my children that just because you fail at something that is important to you, you can dust yourself off and try again.”
Converting the retired school bus in between classes, and on weekends became a type of therapy. After detoxing from extremely addictive opioids, pain medications, antidepressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotic, mood stabilizing, and stimulant medications. “I used building a home for my family like therapy. Having a bad day? Go build something on the bus. You need a art project for school, tie it into the bus. I had more bus related projects handed in for a grade that any professor had ever seen.” This lead to the development of The Painted Buffalo as a family home turning into a traveling studio. In art school, Rambo was fascinated by the thought of Art being a community engagement method. Enter, The Painted Buffalo Traveling Studio. Veterans Helping Veterans Heal through Art.
Whats happening Next
After 2 years of converting a retired school bus into a full time home and studio space, The Rambo Family moved in, August 2019. Currently The rambo family is in beginning stages of planning their around the country trip to provide art classes to Veterans in the communities they adventure to and interview Veteran Artists for the Painted Buffalo Podcast, yet to be named.