BASRA, Iraq – A common trait among soldiers is to aim for the sky in everything they do, and Spc. Jessica Jernigan took it to a whole new level recently.
Jernigan, the administrative assistant for Brig. Gen. Ricky Gibbs, United States Division-South’s deputy commanding general for maneuver, re-enlisted aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in flight over southern Iraq, Dec. 1.
The Hampton, Va., native, who has already served for three years, re-enlisted for five more years and 12 months of stabilization at Fort Riley, Kan., upon redeployment.
Jernigan said her motivation for reenlisting was rooted in her family. Her father, grandfather, uncle, three aunts, and one cousin all served in the U.S. Army.
“I wanted to continue the family tradition as far as being in the Army,” Jernigan said.
Gibbs, who recited the Oath of Enlistment to Jernigan, said he always relishes the opportunity to re-enlist soldiers.
“I enjoy doing these re-enlistments; today’s especially good because it’s someone from my own team,” Gibbs said. “We always say that there are three things that we get to do that are really fun. One of them is promote somebody, the other one is re-enlist somebody, and the third one is give somebody an award. Any time you can do any one of those three things, it’s very rewarding.”
Gibbs added that re-enlistments mean a lot to him because his troops mean a lot to him.
“Our soldiers are great. We couldn’t do what we do without them; I couldn’t do my job without them,” Gibbs said. “They do so much that makes me able to do my job without any headaches, especially this team. I’ve got a good team, I’m really proud of them, and I look forward to seeing them move up higher in the ranks.”
After the ceremony, Jernigan expressed gratitude to her boss for inspiring her to continue her military service.
“Thank you, sir, for standing behind me, and molding me into who I want to be.”