Spotted in Cloverdale
After landing at the Sonoma County Airport Sunday evening, Sgt. First Class Jessamyn Sobecki-Engle was given a surprise motorcycle escort home to Cloverdale by members of the Patriot Guard.
Her second big surprise was seeing the dozens of flag-waving friends and neighbors who lined both sides of Cloverdale Boulevard from Citrus Fair Dr. to First Street to welcome her home.
One of a pair of identical twins, Sobecki-Engle had been considering joining the National Guard when, just as her senior year at Cloverdale High School began, America was attacked.
She enlisted in December of 2001 and entered Basic Training the following September.
Recognized as “Soldier of the Cycle” for her Company at Basic, she attended her Advanced Intelligence Training at Fort Huachuca in 2003. Upon graduation, orders were waiting for her deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
A counter-intelligence agent, Sobecki-Engle volunteered to take her MP gunner’s place in the turret after he was killed on one their missions. She served in that role for the next nine months, with well over 300 missions outside the wire. Promoted to Sergeant in Baghdad, she returned in 2005 and switched over to Military Police, working for the Guard full time ever since.
After adding Combat Engineer to her resume, she quit her job at the San Francisco Armory last year to voluntarily deploy with the 132nd MRBC to Afghanistan. While there she was promoted in theater again, this time to Sgt. First Class, and awarded the Bronze Star for her leadership.
She says she expected there might be a few people at the Sonoma County Airport when she got in, but never in her wildest dreams did she imagine the welcome she received.
“It was the best homecoming from the best community in the whole world. This was easily the best day of my life.”