Hodges: 'Always excel'
First Sgt. Shawn Hodges, Company D, 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment was inspired by the movie "Hamburger Hill" to join the Army.

Rank, name
1st Sgt. Shawn Hodges

Unit
Company D, 1st Battalion,
34th Infantry Regiment

Military Occupational
Specialty / Job title
11Z5M, infantryman / first sergeant

Years in service
16

Family
Married

Highest education
Some college

Hobbies
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.

Page last updated Thu November 12th, 2009 at 08:21