JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. -- Elizabethton, the “City of Power,” is a quiet, historical town in Northeast Tennessee. It’s a place where people like 2nd Battalion, 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade’s Cpl. Caley Hodge continues to make history, even today.
Hodge was inducted into Elizabethton High School’s Hall of Fame, Jan. 21, 2021 for her notable achievements on the softball diamond.
Hodge was an elite catcher on the Cyclones girl’s softball team starring an all-conference selection all four years, team MVP twice and ended her career as the all-time home run leader with 42 round trippers.
It all came naturally for Hodge, shortly after she could walk, you could find her on the softball field.
“Playing sports on a team allowed me to understand different personalities and how to communicate,” Hodge said. “It’s helped me be a leader on the (Advisor) team because you don't always approach everyone the same way.”
Hodge has a quiet professional spirit about her, both on and off the field. She continues to lead in a team atmosphere, just in a different setting now, serving on a 12 personnel Advisor team in the 5th SFAB as their Intelligence Advisor.
Serving in the military is a standing tradition for the Hodge family.
“I always felt the desire to serve and give back,” Hodge said. “My junior year of college, is when I really started pursuing the military, upon graduation, I chose to enlist to fully understand the foundation of the military before becoming a leader.”
Hodge’s work ethic and character are evident in the halls of 2nd Battalion.
“She is a reliable advisor, who does not wait for orders and takes initiative,” Sgt. 1st Class Dajuan Turner said. “She is mature beyond her age and has displayed the ability to always put the team first before herself in every aspect.”
Much like everything in life, you have to take what life throws at you and do the best you can, always giving it your all, or as Hodge says “it’s striking out and learning how to handle tough losses.”
Hodge recalls a time early in her softball career when she heard the doctor say “you’ll never be able to play softball again,” but that wasn’t going to stop her from giving up the sport she loved.
Hodge was able to fully recover from a serious leg injury and never missed a day of practice supporting her team, even while she was unable to play, receiving her high school's Josh Wandell Courage Award in the process for her tenacity.
That’s the type of determination that everyone wants in a teammate, that’s why she excels as an SFAB Advisor and leader.
Turner shared that Hodge is one of the junior members on her team, but she continues to set herself apart from her peers with her selfless service.
“She is mature beyond her age and has displayed the ability to always put the team first before herself in every aspect” Turner said.
Although Hodge doesn’t see a future in the world of sports, she hopes to one day become a coach with her father to continue mentoring youth.
“I have learned so much from softball, it has taught me numerous life lessons I use on and off the field,” she said.
Hodge now takes those lessons learned from the mountains of Tennessee and applies them to her mission advising Foreign Partner Military Forces across the Indo-Pacific.