Sparta grad continues family’s Navy tradition
Navy Yeoman Second Class Petty Officer Jordan Guevara isn’t in the most hospitable area for a U.S. serviceman, but she’s where she wants to be.
The 27-year old, 2006 Sparta High School graduate wakes up these days in Camp Resolute Support, a NATO Coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan.
She arrived there in September 2015, when she was assigned to serve as executive assistant to Major General Gordon B. "Skip" Davis Jr., commander of Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan.
Camp Resolute Support is home to military personnel from a multitude of countries and Guevara finds herself daily in a cultural amalgam.
“Here I get to not only work with other branches of the U.S. military that I haven’t done before, but I also get to work with 42 other coalition military,” she said. “That’s pretty awesome.”
Guevara says she credits the Navy for pushing her to grow as an individual and teaching her perseverance and humility, but given her family’s history, one might think “Anchors Aweigh” was a lullaby in her household.
She is a third-generation sailor. Both her parents were in the Navy and her grandfather, who was from Indiana and just died last year, was a WWII sailor and Pearl Harbor survivor.
But she holds up her mother, Mary Wilhelm of Sparta, as her real mentor.
“Thanks to my mom for always believing in the person that she knew I could be,” said Guevara, who first joined the Navy in 2007.
She completed boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Station in Chicago before being stationed aboard the “super carrier” USS Nimitz. Aboard the Nimitz, Guevara deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operation Enduring Freedom, spending long days --12 hours on and 12 off – serving on the ship's security force.
After visits to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bahrain and Dubai, she says she "appreciates life and what I have and I have it really good."
Guevara left active duty in 2011, taking time off to earn an AAS in criminal justice.
But she re-enlisted in the Navy Reserve in Jan. 2014, while completing her B.A in Geography and Spanish in Madison.
While attached to Naval Station Rota Spain, she was sent to the U.S. National Support Element in Valencia, Spain to complete her annual training.
That brings her to her present deployment in Afghanistan, which she volunteered for.
“Afghanistan is a tough place,” she said, adding she rarely travels from the security of the base and any treks outside the wire are done by helicopter. Her neighborhood is still inhospitable, with Taliban fighters targeting areas around the compound.
“The Afghan security forces are in a very tough fight but they’re holding their own and they’re working very hard everyday to maintain security here in Afghanistan.’
Guevara is scheduled to rotate back to the U.S. in April, but she said she will stay in Afghanistan longer if given the chance.
“This is one of the most eye-opening places I’ve ever been,” she said of Camp Resolute Support. “I am privileged to have the opportunity to work in this environment."
Guevara’s grandparents are Robert and Marlene Wilhelm of Sparta.