When Jennifer entered the U.S. Naval Academy at age 17, she did it as a means to pay for college and was more focused on leaving the security of a small town than she was on the possibility that she might someday pilot a combat aircraft. Now, after 14 years of active duty as a Marine helicopter pilot, she understands the magnitude of her job. She feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve as a CH-46E helicopter pilot, completing two deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During her service, she has delivered squads of Marines into Iraq, knowing they may not make it home. And she has had the unfortunate honor of evacuating wounded servicemembers off of the battlefield. The courage and determination of both groups always gave her a sense of wonder and pride. Jennifer has also been fortunate to have worked alongside Admiral Mike Mullen, 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and has piloted the President of the United States aboard Marine One.
Jennifer plans to spend her last six years in the Marine Corps working on programs designed to strengthen the psychological health and overall well being of Marines and their families. Within the next few years, she plans to start a nonprofit organization geared toward helping veterans deal with the impacts of combat and operational stress. Her vision is to create a wellness center that combines modalities such as yoga, meditation and nutrition with positive psychology principles to offer recovery and growth opportunities for veterans at no cost.