Hodges: 'Always excel'
November 12, 2009
1st Sgt. Shawn Hodges
Company D, 1st Battalion,
34th Infantry Regiment
Specialty / Job title
11Z5M, infantryman / first sergeant
Years in service
Scuba diving and hiking
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Several years ago when he was assigned to Fort Lewis, Wash., 1st Sgt. Shawn Hodges could not resist the trails and mountains that surrounded the installation. So, he took up hiking.
He said he enjoys "being out in the environment, looking at natural waterfalls, looking at nature's best."
During Hodges' 16 years in the Army, he has been assigned to Fort Hood, Texas; Camp Casey, Korea; Fort Lewis, Wash.; and Vilseck, Germany. He has also deployed to Mosul, Iraq, and to the Diyala Province of Baghdad.
It was in Mosul that Hodges encountered a poignant moment during his military career. A Soldier whom he truly admired as a leader was fatally wounded there.
"My first sergeant, 1st Sgt. (Michael) Bordelon was killed ... in 2005 from injuries at Mosul," Hodges said. "I remember his charisma. He was a really easy ... guy to get along with. He was a strong guy (whom) you could go to and talk to, to rectify problems. He took it upon himself to square you away."
The late-80's movie "Hamburger Hill" beckoned Hodges to join the Army. The movie portrays a group of American Soldiers who fought a courageous battle to win Hill 937 on the Laotian border.
"It was so inspirational," Hodges said of "Hamburger Hill."
Before he retires from the Army, in another four or so years, Hodges would like to achieve the rank of command sergeant major and lead an infantry battalion.
He advises junior enlisted to always excel.
"Always pursue you professional and personal development. Avoid the jobs that would be considered 'taking a knee,'" Hodges said.