Faces From the Front for April 4, 2011 - Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cintron
Current Unit: 1st Theatre Sustainment Command (Kuwait)
Current Position: Training and Battle Noncommissioned Officer
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Kuwait
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Years of Service: 13
Whether in the midst of battle or training for combat, Soldiers must adapt quickly to new responsibilities and situations; oftentimes this is the only way to survive. Currently serving her fourth deployment in seven years, Staff Sgt. Jennifer Cintron finds this tenant to be true in her new role as a Training and Operations Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) with the 1st Theatre Sustainment Command (TSC).
Cintron enlisted in the Army more than 13 years ago, and spent much of her first three deployments working as a unit supply specialist.
“This is my first deployment where I’ve had to work outside my military occupation specialty (MOS),” she explained. “I’m usually working with Standard Army Maintenance Systems (SAMS), managing and analyzing maintenance reports, driving trucks and forklifts, or working in a warehouse, shipping and receiving parts.”
Although Cintron spent previous tours serving within her MOS, this was not the first time she had to prove her ability to learn quickly. After a few months of handling equipment orders during her second deployment, she was transferred to a forward operating base near the Iranian border, and put in charge of a shop office that provided supplies to roughly 2,000 U.S. troops and allies in a combat-heavy area.
“I felt honored because they chose me of all people to go there and run a shop office,” she said. “Having zero experience at the time, I was forced to learn to run a SAMS box in a very short amount of time and to run a shop office with only one other person.”
In 2009, Cintron deployed to Khandahar, Afghanistan with the 143rd Sustainment Command. Among other duties, her unit was responsible for briefing the commanding general on equipment and vehicle inventory. Before the end of her tour, she made the decision to extend her deployment, and continue on in the Middle East with the 1st TSC in Kuwait
“I really enjoy what I do here,” she explained. “I don’t think that I would get the same opportunity back in the states, so I took advantage and stayed another year.”
With the 1st TSC, Cintron handles a completely different set of responsibilities than she did as a supply specialist. As a Training and Operations NCO at Camp Arifjan, she manages Soldier enrollments in various military development courses while they are overseas. Training programs such as Warrior Leadership, Battle Staff and Combat Life Saving help Soldiers to learn specialty skills that they can use to enhance their careers both in the Army and in civilian life. Guiding her fellow Soldiers has been an adjustment, but she has gained valuable knowledge from her experiences.
“Although I have not had any Soldiers under me, I have learned how important it is to take care of those that fall beneath you” she explained. “I have learned how important teamwork is and how it feels to carry a heavy load. Soldiers will work together when they truly feel that they are part of a team, and it’s almost as if nothing were impossible to accomplish.”
Cintron has volunteered for all four of her deployments; and her patriotism comes as no surprise as she hails from a family with heavy commitment to military service. Both her father and uncle are war veterans, and her father’s service recently led him to Haiti assisting with recovery efforts from the country’s devastating earthquake disaster in 2010.
“My father was in Haiti earlier this year after the earthquake and recovered 66 bodies,” she explained. “Before his mission, he promised the American people that he would not stop until all U.S. citizens were accounted for. He found a few students from a University and flew to the U.S. several times while in Haiti to escort the bodies back home and speak at the memorial. He never quits.”
Her father’s dedication to his country played a major role in her decision to serve.
“My decision was influenced by my father because I knew a lot about the Army just by what he experienced.”
Cintron’s younger sister, Capt. Nicole Marie Cintron, is also in the Army. The two were deployed in the Middle East for some time together before her sister returned home this past December. While stationed in different areas, they were able to see each other for a few days when Capt. Cintron took training classes at Camp Arifjan.
Serving at the same time as her sister was yet another adjustment for Staff Sgt. Cintron, as having family on the battlefront adds another dimension to the stresses of deployment.
“I don't like serving with my sister for the simple fact that it brings more worry and concern; I am always wondering if she is alright,” explained Cintron. “But at the same time I am proud of her.”
Cintron is scheduled to return in November of 2011, and plans spend time with her family in Florida and New York.