CAMP COURTNEY, Okinawa, Japan --
The U.S. Marine Corps lists its core values as honor, courage and commitment. These are traits engraved into Marines, but some Marines’ circumstances result in these values already residing in their personalities.
Sgt. Shelly Janecke is one of those Marines. Like her brothers and sisters in the Corps, she earned the title by completing the U.S. armed forces’ longest and most challenging version of recruit training. And, like her fellow Marines, she continues a transformative journey that involves subjecting herself to mental, physical and emotional stress in order to harden herself for whatever challenges the Marine Corps throws at her.
However, the challenges that may have influenced her character the most did not come from work, but from home.
Janecke, the ammunition noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the Materials and Readiness Branch, G-4, supply and logistics, III Marine Expeditionary Force, juggles being a Marine, student, instructor, and a mother to Payton, her 5 year-old daughter. There is no such thing as a break for Janecke. Sometimes life becomes overwhelming, but she always pushes on to overcome her challenges one at a time, day after day.
“My daughter is my biggest motivation,” said Janecke, an Eaton Rapids, Mich., native. “Everything I do as far as school and work is so that I can give her the best options in life.”
Janecke’s courage to overcome the challenge of tackling single motherhood helped establish a strong foundation for her leaders and mentors to build upon.
“The good NCO's and Staff NCO’s I was really lucky to have along the way have helped, and they always showed humility,” said Janecke. “They did what they were supposed to do and looked out for their Marines more than anything else, and that’s always what I’ve strived to be like.”
Janecke did just that when she heard about an open instructor billet for the Lance Corporal Leadership and Ethics Seminar with III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, III MEF.
Gunnery Sgt. Marc Rodriguez, a former drill instructor and mentor of Janecke, recognized her leadership potentional and asked her if she would be interested in instructing the course.
“She is one of those Marines who naturally wants to better the Marine Corps, better her Marines, and better herself,” said Rodriguez, the operations chief with G-4 food service, III MEF.
Rodriguez believes that courage is the attribute that sets her apart from her peers.
“I believe that out of the 14 leadership traits, courage is the number one because everything else is encompassed within it,” said Rodriguez. “You need courage to be decisive, you need courage to be tactful, you need courage to be enthusiastic and Sgt. Janecke has that.”
Rodriguez explains that Janecke’s courage comes from the personal challenges that she has confronted and overcome.
“I believe the source of her courage comes from the adversity she’s been through,” said Rodriguez. “She’s a single mother. I believe she uses that as motivation, to be a great mother and be a great example. That is what courage is about."