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Story Archives: Franklin native retires from US Air Force
|Franklin native retires from US Air Force|
Annie Hodge Jerrell, graduate of Fort Necessity High School and native of Vidalia, has flown home to stay after 20 years of service in the United States Air Force.
After her enlistment in the military in 1989, Jerrell quickly moved through the ranks in her position as postmaster. She completed Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas before being stationed at the former England Air Force Base in Alexandria. From there, she was stationed in King Salmon, Alaska for a one-year remote tour.
"Every two years, we moved to a new base," said Jerrell, recalling places in and out of the United States where she had been stationed.
"Germany was my favorite," she said, "the people were very friendly and we often toured the countryside on bicycles and the nearby Netherlands."
While stationed at the Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base in Germany, Jerrell earned an AF Outstanding Unit Award and AF Commendation medal for her service.
Jerrell recalls a visit from her family while in Germany as one of her happiest memories from her time in the service.
Jerrell stated that her five and half month tour in Iraq was among the scariest places she had been deployed.
"We could hear the bombs and the gunfire," Jerrell said, "we had to wear all of our gear and carry a loaded weapon."
She served the military in the war-torn Baghdad in 2005 as postmaster general where she earned an Iraq Campaign Medal for outstanding service.
Jerrell also recalled her five-month deployment in 1991 to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the Desert Storm campaign as being her first experience with live combat. While in Riyadh, she earned Kuwait Liberation Medals from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of Kuwait, as well as an achievement medal.
During her military career, Jerrell has been stationed at 10 states across the U.S. and several countries around the world. As of May, Jerrell retired from a distinguished career of service and dedication to the United States Air Force as an E-6 Service Craftsman and Postal Specialist. She leaves the service as a highly decorated sergeant from a long and distinguished line of military personnel.
Jerrell said her proudest moment was presenting her blue identification card that signified her retirement from the U.S. military to compare with the same card of her father, Fahy E. Hodge Sr., who also retired from 20 years of service in the military. Jerrell is also the niece of three military retirees, W.C. Hodge Jr., Harold Hodge and Denton Hodge, for a combination of 100 years of service to the United States.
Jerrell credits the love and support of her family during her career in and out of the United States as the most important contributor to her successes, especially her son, Sawyer for enduring the time and distance with strength and character. She also notes a special thank you to her beloved Aunt Charlene "Mutt" Brazell for her continued support.
Jerrell is the daughter of Fahy E. Hodge Sr. of Winnsboro and the late Frances L. Hodge. She currently resides in Centerville, Ga., with husband, Jason and son, Sawyer.
Other honors Jerrell received during her career include, Air Force Commendation Medal with six oak leaf clusters, AF Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device with one oak leaf cluster, AF Good Conduct Medal with five oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one service star, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three service stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with one service star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, AF Overseas Ribbon short with one oak leaf cluster, AF Overseas Ribbon Long with two oak leaf clusters, AF Longevity Service with four oak leaf clusters, U.S. AF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon with one oak leaf cluster, and AF Training Ribbon.