OTF Soldier Story for June 14, 2010 - Staff Sgt. Daniel Jensen
Current Unit: 810th Military Police Company
Current Position: Automated Logistical Specialist
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Tampa, Fla.
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
Years of Service: 7
Generation after generation, brave men and women have answered the call to duty and served their country in uniform. For more than two centuries, Americans have relied on the All-Volunteer Army to protect the freedoms and values that the country was founded upon. Following in the bootsteps of several relatives, Staff Sgt. Daniel Jensen always knew he would enlist in the Army one day and continue the tradition of service that his great-grandfather had started.
As Jensen sat in a classroom on Sept. 11, 2001 taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, he watched the Twin Towers fall and recognized that America’s freedoms and values were being attacked.
“Everyone says you remember what you were doing that day, and for me, I clearly do,” he said. “I was more sure than ever before that I wanted to join the Army and serve in uniform.”
Jensen enlisted immediately after graduating high school and has since deployed twice to Iraq.
Most recently, he deployed to Iraq with the 810th Military Police Company and returned earlier this year. During his time in theater, he served as the shop supply listing clerk and was responsible for ordering parts for the unit’s vehicles, dispatching vehicles, creating and completing work orders for the unit’s vehicles, and keeping track of man-hours for the section—all critical tasks to keep the unit mission-ready.
During the year-long deployment, his company was relocated from Baghdad to the city of Basra—more than 300 miles away. Although Jensen said it was a chaotic time, it provided the opportunity for him to travel through much of the country and see the progress since his previous deployment in 2005.
“I definitely saw clear and definite improvements my second time,” he said. “The Iraqi people were more able to help themselves.”
In light of the Army’s birthday this week, Jensen has not only reflected on the recent progress overseas in Iraq, but also on the past hundreds of years of service.
“In the past 235 years, we’ve come a long way in such a short time historically. It is pretty amazing,” he said, adding that he is proud to personally contribute. “I’m proud to be a Soldier because I love to serve our country. Wearing the country’s flag on my right shoulder makes me proud to protect the things that many people take for granted.”
Most recently, Jensen’s younger brother, who just turned 18, also continues the family legacy of service. Following his graduation from high school earlier this month, he will report to basic training later this summer and intends to serve on active duty as a mechanic. Knowing that he helped to encourage his younger brother to serve, Jensen said he is proud of him and hopes to one day have the opportunity to deploy alongside of him.
Jensen returned to the Tampa area in March and has resumed his studies at the University of South Florida. Due to his two deployments and other military obligations, it will take him close to eight years to complete the four-year history degree. Following his graduation next May, he hopes to find a job in the sports management field. He already has some experience in the industry under his belt, proving his ability to balance his life as a student and a soldier.
“While we are stateside, I can have my civilian life as well as a military career,” said Jensen, an Army Reserve Soldier. “I am pleased that I can serve my country and still go to school.”