OTF Soldier Story for November 16, 2009 - 1st Sgt. Jennifer Callicutt
Current Unit: 89th Transportation Company
Current Position: Motor Transport Operator/First Sergeant
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Gloucester, Va.
Hometown: Greenwood, S.C.
Years of Service: 16
As one half of a dual-military family, 1st Sgt. Jennifer Callicutt finds that many things come in pairs. With two deployments and two Bronze Star Medals to her credit, Callicutt is a leader and mentor for the Soldiers in her unit. As a wife and mother of two, Callicutt is a source of support and encouragement for her husband and children.
Guided by Army Strong values, Callicutt committed to leading the Soldiers in her command to the best of her ability, and to making them not only better Soldiers but better people.
“To me, being a senior NCO is all about the Soldiers we work with and lead. If we didn’t have younger Soldiers to take care of, we wouldn’t have a job. We wouldn’t have to get out of bed in the morning,” she said. “I tell them, I’m happy if they’re happy. It’s my job to take care of them.”
Callicutt knew she wanted to serve in the military in high school. Her career as a Soldier has taken her many places around the country and abroad, but the people she’s worked with have been the constant. Reflecting on more than 16 years of service, she said that she admired the senior NCOs who led her and encouraged her to become a better Soldier, leader and person. In the role of a senior NCO, she continues to learn from the Soldiers she now leads.
Most recently, she deployed to Iraq in 2008-2009, serving with the 89th Transportation Company at both Camp Taji and Camp Liberty in Iraq. As the first sergeant, Callicutt was responsible for leading nearly 300 Soldiers as well as coordinating transportation requests throughout the region. Not content with watching from the sidelines, Callicutt frequently joined her Soldiers on their missions, gaining a greater understanding of their daily needs as well as a first-hand perspective on the progress of their efforts.
While Callicutt was deployed to Iraq, her fellow NCO and husband, Jeffrey Callicutt, became the sole parent responsible for raising their children. Their daughter, Taysha, was 15-years-old when her mother deployed, and began her freshman year of high school in her mother’s absence. Similarly, Callicutt said she left her 11-month-old son in 2008, and returned to a walking and talking toddler. Although it was hard to be away during pivotal times in her children’s lives, Callicutt said she was at ease knowing that her husband was taking care of them. Her husband was deployed to Kuwait during her previous deployment to Afghanistan in 2005-2006, so Taysha spent that year with a relative.
For the Callicutt family, having both parents serve in the military has its advantages and challenges.
“It is great because you have someone who understands what you go through on a daily basis, and because we are in the same field we can rely on one another for additional support. However, being two senior NCOs it can be hard to spend time as a family and as a couple, especially with multiple deployments,” she said.
Callicutt currently resides in Gloucester, Va., with her husband and their children. After being a family of four since she returned this fall,1st Sgt. Jeffrey Callicutt, is preparing to deploy next month. While he is away Callicutt plans to focus on supporting her children as well as continuing to lead the Soldiers in the 89th Transportation Company. Looking ahead Callicutt hopes to become a command sergeant major for a transportation battalion.