Airman trains for Alpha Warrior competition

  • Published
  • By Debbie Gildea
  • 340th Flying Training Group Public Affairs

Parenting three preschoolers, supporting a spouse in pilot training, teaching crossfit classes and serving as an executive officer for a flying training squadron is a lot to manage for one person. But Capt. Jennifer Trewett of the 43rd Flying Training Squadron is still able to squeeze in time to train and compete in a demanding, world-class sport - the Alpha Warrior competition.

After the Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, native graduated from the University of Missouri, she married her high school sweetheart, Domenic (also an Air Force captain) and they embarked on their journey, committed to each other and to serving their country.

Jennifer, with support and guidance from her father, who retired from the Army military police, pursued a military law enforcement career, accepting an Air Force Office of Special Investigation opportunity, while Domenic developed his skills as a special operations weather team officer and Army weather support as an airborne qualified weather officer.

Things got busy, though, after Domenic was selected for pilot training, and the Trewetts could see that raising a family while engaged in two high-stress, demanding career fields would take a toll.

It was while Jennifer was teaching Reserve Officer Training Corps in Fayetteville, North Carolina, that a possible solution to their challenge presented itself.

“My commander at the time, Col. Jay Miller, was (Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty program) - a reservist on temporary active duty - and he suggested I consider the Reserves,” she explained.

With six years of active duty under her belt, Jennifer faced a difficult decision. The only Reserve option that would help her family remain together was traditional Reserve, or TR, but there are no OSI TR positions. She could stay on active duty and hope for the best, accept another career field and hope for job satisfaction, or separate from service and hope she didn’t regret it.

It isn’t in her nature to quit, though, so she forged ahead, accepting a Reserve position.

Fortunately, fate often rewards pluck in unexpected ways.

For Jennifer, whose husband is a flying training student at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, an open executive officer position with the 43rd Flying Training Squadron was providence. Those positions don’t require specific career fields, so serving as a 43rd executive officer would give her time to develop a long-term plan.

“The transition from active duty to Reserve couldn’t have been any smoother thanks to the hard work of the 43rd (FTS) staff,” Jennifer said. “I’ve also gained a whole new perspective for how important executive officers are to a squadron functioning appropriately. (Maj. Kelly Hook) and (Maj. Kristine Brunshidle) did an amazing job teaching me the ropes and being patient with me as I asked a slew of questions.”

Jennifer has enjoyed other unanticipated benefits in the Reserve.

Active and athletic, Jennifer played sports in junior high, high school and college. Her bachelor’s degree was in nutrition and fitness. As a military member and crossfit enthusiast/certified instructor, she even volunteered to teach crossfit classes at the base gym. When she joined the Reserve, she suddenly had the time and flexibility to pursue other dreams, such as her dream of being a private fitness trainer.

With a full gym in the garage, she now guides clients on their health and fitness journey - a career that fits well with her other roles of wife, mom and Airman.

That would be plenty for many, but Jennifer was compelled to take on one more challenge - she would be an Alpha Warrior.

It’s not about a couple of hours a week at the gym doing some cardio and a few free weights. Alpha Warrior is a state-of-the-art obstacle course, similar to the equipment seen on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior, designed to test competitors’ abilities, strength, mental determination and tenacity.

Competitors, like Jennifer, train aggressively for months - even years - to develop the strength, balance, speed and mental discipline necessary just to qualify to compete. And that’s when it gets really hard. For Jennifer, who taught CrossFit and started training for Alpha Warrior while she was pregnant, that’s when it gets awesome.

“Becoming a reservist gave me the freedom to balance pursuing my fitness goals and being an officer,” she said.

Things will soon change, again, for the Trewetts. Domenic will finish pilot training this summer and then it will be time for a permanent change of station.

“PCS moves are always stressful,” Jennifer said. “You leave friends and favorite places behind, and it’s sad. But, it’s exciting too, and we look forward to new adventures. Wherever the Air Force takes us, there will be new active duty and Reserve friends, and new challenges. I’ll miss the people and the atmosphere of the 43rd (FTS) the most."

Whatever their next assignment brings, rest assured this part-time Airman/part-time ninja will continue to thrive.