Written by U.S. Army Sgt. Duncan Brennan
101st Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan – For Spc. Jennifer Benevente, an avionics repair specialist with D Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, serving in the military is something that has been in her family.
Even with a family history of military service, it was a series of events that nudged her toward the military.“I got pregnant in high school,” said Benevente, a native of Fort Leavenworth, KS. “I was supposed to graduate in 1995. I didn’t get my diploma until 2005 through the No Child Left Behind program. I didn’t want my children to think that it is OK not to have a high school diploma.”
Benevente was married to a civilian, and even though she felt the call to serve, she tried to make life work as a civilian. Having grown up in a military household, she expected more from her coworkers, as if she were in a military unit.
“I tried civilian life,” said Benevente. “I tried different jobs and tried to make it in the civilian workforce, but it is just not the same as the military. I didn’t have much faith in the civilian workforce.”
She joined the Army in 2009 against the wishes of her husband. Even though she left her husband of 15 years, she credits him with teaching her a lot of important life lessons.
“My husband didn’t want me to join,” said Benevente. “He wanted me to stay with him. I was raised by my parents, but he made me grow up.”
Benevente was assigned to 1st Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, after graduating advanced individual training at Fort Eustis, VA, and deployed with 101st CAB to Afghanistan in 2010. With three years in the Army, she is on her second deployment, attached to D, 2-17 CAV.
Sgt. Alcone Levier, D, 2-17 CAV avionics repair noncommissioned officer, has been working with Benevente since June 2011. He has come to regard Benevente’s workmanship very highly in the 18 months they have been working together.
Reports of Benevente’s achievements have garnered a significant amount of attention. Her skills in her area are noticed beyond the scope of the maintenance hangar.
“Benevente has great troubleshooting skills,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Stuart C. O’Black, 2-17 CAV command sergeant major, a native of Clarksville, TN. “It’s a personal challenge to her to solve problems that others can’t.”
Having been recognized for tracking down the damaged wires, Benevente wasted no time in moving forward. On December 5th, Benevente went to the promotion board and passed.
“She deserves her promotable status,” said Levier. “She has great potential as an NCO. You will never catch her beating her chest, and she is focused on achieving goals for the overall mission. She is the kind of colleague that I’d like to run into again.”
At the end of the day, and with her promotion to sergeant looming on the horizon, Benevente is calm about the future. She also holds her family’s military history close to her.
“My father retired from the Army as a staff sergeant,” said Benevente. “My grandfather on my mother’s side, he’s my absolute hero. My grandfather served in World War II and Korea, but I cannot remember if he served in World War I. I’m really proud that they raised me with Army values.”