Staff Sgt. Jennifer Singh is a surgical technician with the 14th Combat Support Hospital, a subordinate unit to the XVIII Airborne Corps. But, her familiarity with Fort Bragg began years ago.
“I was born at Fort Bragg,” said Singh by email from Gabon, where she is assigned as part of U.S. Army Africa-led medical readiness training exercise 17-4 in Libreville.
There, Singh has worked as a surgical technician in a mission that ended Friday.
“The most rewarding work I did in Gabon was introducing the Gabonese to the specific role the surgical tech plays (for) a few of their doctors or nurses, who were used to doing much of the work my position fulfills, themselves,” she said. “I was honored to be able to assist them. To take a little bit of that burden from them.”
Singh was able to break barriers about surgical language, said Staff Sgt. Shejal Pulivarti, public affairs noncommissioned officer, U.S. Army Africa. As such, she was able to understand and anticipate which instruments the surgeon would need —whether it was an American or a Gabonese surgeon — and hand them those tools to make the surgery a success.
“I’ve seen her be able to adapt and be innovative in a challenging environment,” Pulivarti said.
U.S. Army Africa facilitates five MEDRETES a year in various countries in Africa. Each iteration is sourced with various U.S. Army medical professionals from different units per mission, explained Pulivarti.
“Placing them (medical professionals) in an austere environment with challenges they might not face in the U.S., increases their individual technical readiness in future operations,” she said.
Being a Soldier has long been on Singh’s radar. She said she joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1998 before graduating high school the following year, and comes from an extensive military lineage with both grandfathers being combat veterans and her parents serving as military police.
“I idolized them, though I didn’t realize it until later,” Singh said.
When she realized she did not want to lose her dependent status, she joined the Reserve and transferred to active-duty after two years.
Military service is a Family affair, said Singh.
“I have four siblings, all who have served in the military or are currently serving.”
Her husband is an Army retiree, and the couple have two children; Nathan and Mason.
With 17 years in the military, Singh also plans to retire and then, further her education in the medical field.
“Exactly which direction in the medical field I choose (planner/administration or provider), I haven’t quite decided,” said Singh. “However, I think I made the right decision when I joined the Army and was trained as a surgical technician. The experiences the Army has provided me was exactly what I was looking for. This Medical Readiness Training Exercise mission has honestly provided one of the best medical training for my specific skillset that I’ve received in my 17-year career.”