Deploying Overseas: Spc. Patricia Jones

MEDFORD, Ore.– For Patricia Jones, life after graduating from South Medford High came with uncertainty.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue nursing in college or what exactly,” she said. “So I just decided the National Guard, why not.”

Jones says she was inspired by her best friend, Lily Jantzer, who had recently joined and is now studying as a cadet. The two have known each other since they were three years old.

“She was just kind of thinking about it and was kind of confuse about what she wanted to do after high school,” said Jantzer. “I was like well this is what I did and you don’t have to but you can if you want.”

Jones enlisted right out of high school in 2017. She soon received a life-changing announcement. Jantzer described how she was at basic training when she received the letter from Jones says she had enlisted and would be deployed in 2019.

“It caught me by surprise that it was so quick,” said Jones.

She’s now one of 450 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers with the 1-186 Infantry Battalion deploying to Somalia and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. She’ll be serving as a combat medic. Their mission, titled Operation Enduring Freedom, will be to provide support to the United States’ national partners in the region.

“When I found out we were deploying I was nervous,” admitted Jones. “My parents weren’t super excited at first cause they were nervous but ultimately it’s the decision I made.”

Jones just turned 21 right before she left but the enormity of her decision isn’t lost on what this means for her family. One of eight children, Jones’s family continues to grow with her sister expected to give birth while she’s deployed. It’s one of the saddest parts she says about being deployed.

With so many little sisters and little nephews that steal her heart, it’s hard leaving all that behind.

“I’m sad I’ll miss out on opportunities here with my family and things that they’re going through but it’s a year-long or less,” she reasons.

Days before leaving, her family hosted a going away party at her home. Those last couple of days with her family were about taking in every last second of it and being humble along the way.

“I think once I get there it’ll be different just because it will be my everyday job which I’m not used to,” she said. “But I’m still just a regular person living a regular life.”

Stay with NBC5 News as we tell the stories Jones and two other families that will be experiencing this deployment.

If you would like to read about Cpt. Kevin Kirkley and his family, you can find their story here.

If you would like to read about Staff Sgt. Jase Deemer and his family, you can find their story here.

 

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