Born March 15 in Charleston, S.C., Staff Sgt. Erik Jessup enlisted in the US Army on December 3, 2003 and left for Basic Training just over a month later.
Jessup successfully completed Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kent., and went on to success at Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon, Ga.
Upon completion of AIT, Jessup was assigned to 4th Platoon, 324th Signal Battalion. He would remain in that position until deploying in March 2006 as a section leader in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Specialist, Jessup was attached to the 86th Signal Battalion, in the 3rd Signal Brigade and Multi-National Corps – Iraq (MNC-I). Jessup first distinguished himself as personal security detachment for the battalion commander and Command Sgt. Maj. and later, after he was promoted to Sgt., as part of the Quick Reaction Force team.
While a member of the QRF Jessup took part in multiple missions to support the security of the American forces on and around Camps Victory, Liberty and Stryker. Near the end of the deployment, he was selected above higher-ranking peers to serve as NCOIC of a mission essential network for the entire 3rd Signal Brigade.
2009 brought a change in Jessup’s career as he interviewed to become a US Army Reserve Drill Sergeant. Upon completion of Drill Sergeant school Jessup immediately volunteered for Drill Sergeant duty and was assigned to Fort Jackson 3rd Bn, 60th INF Regt. Shortly after the completion of his tour at Fort Jackson, Jessup transferred from the 98th Training Division (IET) to the 95th Training Division (IET) and was assigned to 3rd BN, 339th INF Regt. During his time with E Co, 3rd Bn, Jessup was selected to go on mission to Fort Bliss as the Mobilization Human Resources Operations NCOIC and would remain there from December 2014 until December 2015.
As a Drill Sergeant, Jessup is proud to have directly molded over 720 Soldiers in the formations of units Army wide. “I set a standard far above the baseline standard which enabled my platoons to consistently achieve 100% Soldier graduation for 4 consecutive cycles,” explained Jessup.
“My direct supervision and leadership resulted in two of my Soldiers being selected as Soldier Leader of the Cycle and Soldier of the Cycle. As a Drill Sergeant I made it my personal goal to ensure all Soldiers under my guidance not only met, but exceeded all Army standards. During the 07-10 cycle I was selected over 12 Drill Sergeants as Drill Sergeant of the Cycle,” he concluded proudly.
Although he clearly distinguished himself as a Drill Sergeant, Jessup was no less proficient as the HRO MOB NCOIC at Ft. Bliss, Texas.
“I have helped in the mobilization of countless units ranging from company size to brigade size elements,” said Jessup. “The list of responsibilities ranged from performing site visit briefs, informing the commands of Reserve units and National Guard state commands of the expectations and needed documents both prior to and during their mobilization through Fort Bliss, teleconference calls with the commands prior to arriving to discuss any issues or concerns, hot washes once the units arrived and began their mobilization process, discussing any issues with soldiers and possible REFRADs, to weekly meetings at Camp Mcgregor to discuss addition REFRAD concerns, personal issues, pay issues, and Red Cross messages.”
Jessup went on to explain that during this time he was also responsible for one “borrowed manpower” Soldier from Fort Bliss Garrison as well as five Civilians helping to complete the assigned mission of mobilizing units through Fort Bliss.
Soldiers are rarely successful without investing in their careers and Jessup has the military education record to prove that. His courses include the Switching Systems Operator and Maintainer Course, Warrior Leader Course, Combat Life Saver Course, Modern Army Combative Course (Level 1), Total Army Instructor Training Course, Small Group Instructor, CART-C Weapons Training, Baseband Node Operator and Maintainer training Course, G-6 NETCOM Security +, and the United States Army Drill Sergeant School.
With a list of accomplishments and high profile assignments, it’s not surprising that Jessup also has an ERB full of awards to laud his service. His awards and decorations include the Army Commendations Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal (2), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (3), National Defense Service Medal (1), Iraqi Campaign Medal (1 w/ campaign stars), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (1), Armed Forces Reserve Medal (1 w/ M device, “3” and bronze hourglass), Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon (1), Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, German Armed Forces Badge (Silver), and the German Schuetzenschnur (Gold).
Not one to rest on his laurels, Jessup is also driven by his desire to improve himself and his focus on his goals.
“My short-term goals are to be selected as a Warrant Officer Candidate,” said Jessup. “My long-term goals are to become a Cyber Defense Warrant officer and retire out of the Army as a CW3 or higher.”
Jessup reenlisted in the US Army Reserve in February and if his past accomplishments are any indication, his future looks bright.