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Senior Enlisted Leader Officiates at Deployed Niece’s Promotion

  • Published
  • By Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Pena,
  • National Guard Bureau

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo - Deployments typically require a service member to leave their home, family and friends for an extended period, missing birthdays, holidays and significant occasions to serve their nation.

In a heartwarming twist, a Georgia Guardsman was promoted to the rank of sergeant first class in southeastern Kosovo June 24. Her promotion was a family affair as the service member’s uncle, the top enlisted leader for the National Guard Bureau, officiated.

SEA Tony Whitehead, senior enlisted advisor to the National Guard Bureau chief, visited Guardsmen deployed to the Balkans to support NATO’s peacekeeping operations in the region — a mission the Guard has supported for over two decades.

“It’s important to recognize that achieving competence and success is only possible when you have people who genuinely care about your well-being and are committed to helping you succeed,” Whitehead said.

“The men and women leading the next generation into whatever fight will come next are the senior NCOs we promote today,” he said. “We are promoting one of those today because she is ready for what is next. She stands among those in this room who will hold her accountable and who will follow her lead.”

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jasmine Promise joined the National Guard in 2014, inspired by her family’s service dating back to World War II.

“I felt like the military was my best route because of my family,” Promise said. “I went to the Army National Guard recruiting office and was told, ‘We can have you shipped out in three months.’ So, I said sign me up.”

A decade later, she finds herself deployed to Kosovo with the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade, supporting the Kosovo Force, working as the paralegal NCO in charge of the Regional Command East legal office.

She attributes her success in the military to the values established by her family at a young age, including her uncle, Whitehead.

“Growing up, it was God first and family; my parents have always instilled that in me,” she said. “From being a kid until now, my family has always been there for me, and for my uncle to be able to be here and say, ‘Yes, I’ll pin you,’ furthermore proves that family is everything,” Promise said.

The National Guard has continued rotations into Kosovo as part of the NATO-led international peacekeeping force comprising 27 partner nations. The main goal of the KFOR mission is to provide a safe and secure environment and ensure freedom of movement for all communities in Kosovo.

NCOs are considered the backbone of the military, and Promise aspires to serve in higher leadership and responsibility roles, following her uncle’s example.

“I aspire to advance within the military, just like my uncle SEA Whitehead,” said Promise. “As a senior NCO, I am vigilant. I support those below and above me, as NCOs are crucial to the Army. I aid subordinates, officers and senior enlisted leaders, ensuring everyone understands their responsibilities. I am always ready to assist anyone in need.”