Leaping out of an airplane at 12,500 feet would make most people shake in their shoes. And for her first jump, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Jeretta “Jetta” Dillon said she was nervous, but “it was amazing.”
Originally from Bascom, OH, Dillon joined the Navy because she wanted to see the world and serve in the military. And there was a family legacy as well—her grandfather served in the Navy for 28 years. Her first duty station was Greece. Since then, she has been in Washington State, Japan, and the Philippines among other places. “And I had the opportunity to be stationed at Key West and didn’t want to pass up paradise,” she said, laughing.
While in Key West, she knew she wanted to get a college degree. She chose the Saint Leo Key West Education Center “because of the tuition assistance and the campus on base” and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration.
“My Saint Leo is the backbone of who I am today. It got me thinking on what I wanted to do and helped me decide to further my education later on.”
— Jeretta “Jetta” Dillon ’00
“I met a lot of great friends going through classes,” Dillon said of her Saint Leo experience. “I learned to network, and they helped me with my package to put in for Officer Candidate School.”
Dillon’s Navy Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is supply officer (called a logistics officer in other military branches), and now she is stationed at the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL. As the deputy executive officer to the commander, Dillon works for General Joseph L. Votel at SOCOM and makes “sure his calendar is organized, his strategic papers are thorough, and that he meets with the right people.”
Dillon’s Saint Leo classes such as Organizational Behavior and Religions of the World helped prepare her for her current job. The religion class particularly was helpful because of the study of Islam as well as other religions.
“My Saint Leo is the backbone of who I am today,” Dillon said. “It got me thinking on what I wanted to do and helped me decide to further my education later on.” She earned her MBA from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
When she arrived at SOCOM, a peer suggested she be on the ground crew and provide narration for the U.S. Special Operations Command Parachute Team known as the Para-Commandos. There are about 20 people on the team and four of them are women. While she doesn’t have many jumps, Dillon enjoys being on the ground crew and providing narration. At air shows, such as the Tampa Bay AirFest at MacDill, she said the SOCOM team usually performs two jumps a day. In addition to all air shows, they also jump into parades, MLB games, NFL games, and high school football games.
Dillon’s Saint Leo education provided her the platform to succeed and to soar—with a parachute, of course.