Warrant Officer's Family Military Legacy
by U.S. Army Enrique Vasquez, NETCOM
February 2, 2023
As the Army and the Signal Corps take on the nation’s cyber adversaries, Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)’s warrant officers work closely with the command’s Soldiers and Department of the Army (DA) civilians to safeguard, maintain and operate the Department of Defense Information Network-Army (DODIN-A), which includes all Army automated information systems and networks.
One of those warrant officers helping defend NETCOM’s networks is Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jennifer Lee, a native of Millbrook, Alabama. Currently assigned to NETCOM Europe, Lee serves as a 255A senior information services technician.
Joining the military can sometimes be a difficult decision, but for Lee, it was part of her family’s legacy starting with her grandfather Michael Cherry, who served in the Navy.
“My family has a long history of military service,” Lee said. “My dad Lawrence Cherry retired from the military after serving 18 years in the Air Force and two years in the Army.”
In addition, to having her father, stepfather and grandfather serve in the military, Lee also has three siblings currently serving.
“My three brothers, Michael, James and Jonathan Cherry are currently serving in the Air Force stationed all over the world,” Lee said.
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jennifer Lee has an extensive military family legacy that spans back several decades, and which also carries on to the present with three brothers in the Air Force ... as shown in this January 21, 2016 photo of Chief Warrant Officer 2 (at the time) Jennifer Lee (middle right) with brothers Tech Sgt. James Cherry, (left) Master Sgt. Michael Cherry (center left) and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Cherry. (Photo provided by U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jennifer Lee.)
One of Lee’s children is also closely following in her footsteps and striving for a military career like her mother’s.
“My daughter, Desiree, will commission as a United States Army officer in May 2023 from the University of Alabama,” Lee said.
Although Lee wanted to serve in the military after graduating high school, she decided to enroll in college.
Ultimately, Lee enlisted when life’s challenges made it difficult to achieve her goals.
“I wanted to provide a better life for my daughter and working part-time was not enough,” Lee explained.
Initially, Lee enlisted as a 31R multichannel transmission systems operator, where she discovered the technical aspects of her chosen career.
Eventually, Lee’s interest in those technical aspects lead her to her true calling within the Warrant Officer Cohort.
“As a young signaleer, I developed grit in the tactical environment,” Lee said. “The tactical experience was tough but made me the warrant I am today.”
Signal plays an important role in command and control, and it takes a team effort to accomplish the mission.
“It is our job to enable the commander by providing situational understanding and a common operational picture for near real-time battlefield decisions,” Lee said. “Technology is evolving at a high rate and technical manuals can only take you so far.”
Lee credits her biological father’s service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps as a motivating factor in her decision to pursue a communications job specialty.
“My dad served in the Signal Corps when he was drafted during Vietnam, where he served as an Army cryptographic specialist,” Lee said.
As a sergeant, Lee was motivated by senior leadership to pursue greater opportunities within the Signal Corps.
“Warrant officers heavily influenced me when I was an instructor at the 255A Warrant Officer Basic Course and Warrant Officer Advanced Course,” Lee said.
After her instructor assignments, Lee would embrace the Warrant Officer Cohort as they encouraged her to ultimately become a technical leader and advisor.
“Those senior warrants provided mentorship and guidance while I was preparing my warrant packet,” Lee said. “They are my role models, and I can reach out to them to this day for mentorship and guidance.”
Like many successful career Soldiers, Lee credits her better half for their support through the selection process.
“The deciding factor was my husband, Sgt. Maj. Thomas Lee, Jr,” Lee said “He assisted me in dropping my packet and has been my number one battle buddy throughout it all. If it wasn’t for him, I would not be a warrant or the warrant I am today.”
Currently, Lee is assigned to NETCOM Europe leading communication initiatives and offering her technical expertise to her team.
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jennifer Lee participated in a Senior Leader Development event September 2022, where she posed for a photo with NETCOM’s Command Chief Warrant Officers in front of the command headquarters, Greely Hall, Fort Huachuca. Pictured left-to-right are Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kristoffer Everson, Cyber Protection Brigade; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Lawrence Makuakane 335th Signal Command (Theater); Chief Warrant Officer 5 Deshawn Bell, NETCOM HQ; Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert Christian, 311th Signal Command (Theater); Chief Warrant Officer 5 Kathleen Mahoney, 7th Signal Command (Theater); and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jennifer Lee, the Senior Tech Advisor for NETCOM Europe. (U.S. Army photo by Gordon Van Vleet, NETCOM - September 20, 2022)
“I serve as the senior technical advisor to the NETCOM Europe Team,” Lee explained. “I am currently working future initiatives for the European theater.”
Lee’s former NETCOM Europe director, Michelle Curtis, applauded Lee’s achievements.
“She symbolizes all a warrant officer should be, and I look forward to watching her move up to the highest ranks in support of the Signal Branch and Army’s mission,” Curtis explained.
Lee is not only helping improve the mission capabilities of NETCOM Europe, but she is also helping develop and shape the Army of 2030.
“I also provide mentorship and guidance to my fellow warrants, NCOs and Soldiers in the theater while serving as the Rhein-Neckar Silver Chapter United States Warrant Officer Association president,” Lee said.
As Lee helps shape our future leaders, she also praises the signal community for their efforts.
“Signaleers are doing great things to accomplish the mission every day,” Lee said. “I plan to educate, train and integrate the force on the capabilities Signal Soldiers bring to the mission.”
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Deshawn L. Bell, NETCOM Command Chief Warrant Officer, has known Lee for over 10 years and revels in what she’s accomplished.
“Chief Lee continues to impress me with her intellect, technical acumen, assertiveness, initiative, drive and work ethic,” Bell said. “The Warrant Officer Cohort is in good hands with leaders like Chief Lee in our formations.”
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