Skip to comments.Mother joins military, follows dream, sons
Posted on 02/13/2010 2:48:07 PM PST by SandRat
FORWARD OPERATING BASE MAREZ While many women are busy serving as soccer moms and chauffeurs for their children's busy lives, one 37-year-old Tampa, Fla., resident is more closely focused on keeping her family "Army strong." Spc. Jenniffer Davis joined the Army two years ago. An information technician, she currently works at the S6 Help Desk for the 2nd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division during its deployment to Mosul as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
While the military has long been a family tradition for Davis -- both her parents are retired Air Force, her mom after 30 years of service, her Dad after 20, and her sister currently serves in the Air Force she also wanted to wear the uniform.
But, as is often the case, life just happened to get in the way. As a mother of two young boys, she was told the military frowned upon allowing single mothers into their ranks.
Still, she thought she'd wait until she was 27 to enlist. But at that time, she was a single mother of four. At the age of 28, she felt she was too old for the military and out of options.
Fortune then smiled upon her, as the military raised its maximum age limit and her two oldest boys turned 18. No longer dependents, and with four years of Reserve Officers Training Corps training under their belt, they joined the Army as private first classes, right out of high school.
When her oldest son, now a technician with the South Carolina Army National Guard, graduated from basic training, she said her second oldest had "that look in his eye. I told him, 'Baby, if you do it, I'll do it too.'"
Two weeks later, he enlisted at the Military Enlisted Processing Station. The following week, she had an appointment to take the ASVAB test.
"I'd been out of school for 17 years, so I wanted time to study, she said. I got there and the recruiter told me to just go ahead and take the test. He called later and said, not only did I pass, but I had a higher test score than both of my boys. I still tease them about it," she said.
According to Pfc. Tyler M. Davis, Co. D, 151st Aviation, South Carolina National Guard and Spc. Davis' oldest son, the military has been one of his mother's best decisions.
"After seeing my brother and I accomplish so much in so little time, a spark of hope and greatness shone in my mom's heart, compelling her to join the military, he said. It was one of her dreams, because her mother and sister were also in the military. But she never had the chance to join, because of us.
"From the time she joined the military, my mom has become a more motivational and awe-inspiring person, he continued. If there's one person in this world who's my hero, it's her. You can say I get my competitiveness from her. Ever since she joined the Army, it's been a race to rank and titles. We are a cutting-edge family and we fight for what we want."
"He outranked me but, not for long," Spc. Davis said. "I told him, 'I'm going to get you and I'm going to pass you up.'"
She was promoted to E-3 and then received a waiver in October to become a specialist. Spc. Jesse Davis, currently deployed to Afghanistan with Co. C, 4th BSTB, 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne Div. became a specialist one month later. At the end of February, she'll have the opportunity to go before the sergeant's promotion board.
"It's all been pretty fun. I have to stay one step ahead of my boys," she laughed.
"I truly believe my mother's joining the military is a blessing," Pfc. Davis said. "With it she can achieve so many of her childhood goals, as well as provide a better future for my younger brothers," he said.
"I'm very proud of my mother having a military career," said Spc. Jesse Davis, who also works at his unit's Help Desk. "My mother, as well as every deployed Soldier, endures not being with their families. She's left my younger two, most dependent, brothers behind, and faces the rough life of a deployed Soldier. The most contact she faces is probably indirect fire, mortars, rockets and such. Even with that, hard as it is, her work at the S6 Help Desk is a very demanding job that she seems to excel at nevertheless."
After a 12-hour shift at the Brigade Help Desk, Davis then spends another four hours studying for the promotion board. After about six hours of sleep, it's off to work again.
"I keep as busy as possible studying, or doing correspondence courses. I'm lucky to have great NCOs, who give me the time to study when we have the down time."
The biggest asset for anyone contemplating a late start into the military, said Spc. Davis, is determination.
"You need to be determined, regardless of the physical pain, or the mental torment, she said. At our age, we get a bit set in our ways, so it took some getting used to a new lifestyle, an entirely new way of life. You have to be open to it. Don't let anything stop you; you need to push on through it all. Stay determined and focus on where you're going."
Every step of the way, she's maintained a sharp focus on what she wanted to accomplish, even completing basic training, despite a broken hip. During AIT, her daughter-in-law moved to Fort Gordon, bringing Spc. Davis' children with her. Every night, Spc. Davis and Spc. Jesse Davis would join his wife, her kids, and his brothers, from 6-9 p.m. They'd eat dinner, visit with the family, do some studying, and then return to the barracks.
"I knew I'd be here someday according to my goals. I wouldn't change anything in my life," she said. "It would change the outcome of who I am and where I'm at. I like where I am in my life."