PETERSON SPACE FORCE BASE, Colo. - For Sgt. Jalynn Jurich, an engagement controller on a Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) crew with the 22nd Theater Missile Warning Company, 1st Space Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, at Misawa Air Base, Japan, the past couple years have been trying times.
With the global pandemic in full swing, and Japan enforcing strict regulations during it, Jurich, along with many Soldiers overseas, experienced base lockdowns and social distancing on scales unprecedented stateside.
“I really found out just who I was these last two years,” Jurich said. “I grew up a lot. There was a lot of time spent alone with just my thoughts, sitting on a beach.”
This wasn’t unfamiliar territory for Jurich, who was raised near beaches in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After graduating from high school in 2015, Jurich bounced from one college to the next for four years, playing softball for her schools, until she tore ligaments in her shoulder. She then joined the Army in 2019 for a new challenge and to travel.
“I wanted to test myself mentally and physically,” Jurich said of joining the Army. “And being on a JTAGS crew has done that mentally - and physically, some of the things you do in the Army checks that box.”
Things like the Army’s Best Warrior Competition, which Jurich recently participated in (the lone female competitor) on a command level in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A series of events consisting of Army Warrior Tasks, a physical fitness test, an obstacle course, land navigation courses, and marksmanship ranges, just to name a few, all packed into a fast-paced, rigorous schedule, typically over the course of four to five days, BWC is designed to test enlisted Soldiers on the very essence of what it means to be a Soldier.
While Jurich stands just over five feet tall, she competed against males more than a foot taller than her, doing well in all the competition’s events, even ones she didn’t expect to.
“Coming into this, I didn’t know how I’d perform in events like the 12-mile ruck march,” Jurich said. “But it wasn’t a problem. If you put your mind to something, you will achieve the end goal.”
One goal Jurich is about to achieve is her bachelor’s degree in U.S. Strategic Intelligence from Liberty University, which she has been working toward online for the last couple years. What she intends to do with it is left to be seen, Jurich said. She is considering a commission in the Army, re-enlisting for another four years, or possibly getting out at the end of her enlistment.
Whatever path Jurich decides to travel down, she appreciates what the Army has done for her.
“I was very cocky coming into the Army,” Jurich said. “I’ve come a long way these last three years. I’ve been put into leadership roles and stopped thinking about myself and more about the team. Everyone has to be successful in order for the team to work - and that’s what makes the Army work.”
Jurich intends to stay in Army Space if she re-enlists, as she sees it is the future of things to come in the military, feeling she will benefit from her training in a space command in the civilian world.
“You can’t go wrong with the training you receive being in SMDC,” Jurich said. “The future holds a lot of opportunities.”