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Stories of Service: Senior sailor of the year at NAS Jax

Petty Officer Jennifer Ledesma is a proven leader on base, and out of uniform, a proud mother of one who considers her daughter her shining star.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In this week's Stories of Service, we're going to Naval Air Station Jacksonville to meet the senior sailor of the year. She's a proven leader on base, and out of uniform, a proud mother of one who considers her daughter her shining star.

Petty Officer Jennifer Ledesma is a native Texan who now calls NAS Jax home. She currently works in maintenance control with Patrol Squadron 30. Ledesma helps keep the military planes in the air.

"Basically, if the plane breaks, we fix it. We also try to prevent the plane from breaking down," Ledesma said.

The 35-year-old is the recipient of numerous awards, including Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medals.

But, if you ask her about her biggest accomplishment, she'll tell you it's her 11-year-old daughter. She keeps her picture in her pocket.

"She reminds me every day why I fight," Ledesma said. "Every day, why I still stay strong. So, whenever I have a moment, I bring out her picture and look at it. Brings so much joy and happiness to my life."

When Ledesma is not in uniform, she's making sure her little girl grows up to be a strong and successful woman.

"We are very involved with the Girl Scouts. We go camping. We do everything to empower the future girls of tomorrow," Ledesma said.

When she's not working on the planes, she's continuing to pursue her education.

"I got my associate's degree in general education. Now, I'm working on my bachelor's degree in applied mathematics while saving my GI bill to utilize toward my daughter, so when she's ready to go to college, she'll be set up for success."

Ledesma's commanding officer says her entire career has been nothing short of extraordinary, and she is the future of the United States Navy.

If you have a story of service to share, email us at storiesofservice@firstcoastnews.com.

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