Vanessa Sharpe Bennett Collection
- 1980-1982, 2016
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Vanessa Sharp Bennett (b. 1961), of Newark, New Jersey, served in the United States Army and Army Reserve from 1980-2001. Vanessa Sharpe Bennett was born 16 September 1961 in Newark, New Jersey, and her family later moved to nearby East Orange. During high school, Bennett learned typing and stenography, a skill which helped her gain acceptance to Katharine Gibbs College in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Unfortunately, Bennett was forced to leave school after an altercation with two other students and never graduated.
In 1980, after speaking with male relatives who had joined the U.S. Army, Bennett decided to enlist for three years, with a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 76P, or Stock Control and Accounting Specialist. She was sent to Fort McClellan, Alabama for basic training, then to Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Lee, Virginia, and then finally to her first duty station in Kaiserslautern, Germany. After arriving in Germany, a request was made for someone with typing skills to work in the office, and with what she had learned in high school, Bennett volunteered for the job. Within a few months, she was given the choice of continuing with typing, or returning to her original MOS. She chose to stay in typing, but added a second MOS of 71L, or Administrative Specialist.
While in Germany, Bennett immersed herself in the local culture, as well as visiting Paris and Nancy, France. In late 1983 or early 1984, Bennett reenlisted for an additional three years. She received orders to Fort Ord, California, but after arriving there, received notice she had been incorrectly assigned and was sent to Fort Hood, Texas, where she began working in administration. In 1984, Bennett received orders for a second tour in Germany and was sent to Frankfurt. This time, she had the opportunity to live in an apartment about forty-five minutes away from the base, and was able to visit Amsterdam, Belgium, Berlin, and attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.
In 1986, after six years in the U.S. Army, Bennett decided to leave due to increasing physical training (PT) standards, and her belief that she could no longer be the best leader she could be to the soldiers looking up to her. Bennett also wanted to spend more time with her ailing father. Bennett returned to New Jersey, but when finances became tight, she decided to join the U.S. Army Reserve.
She left the reserve in October 2001, but prior to leaving, she had become reacquainted with a childhood friend, and they were married in 2002. In 2007, due to her mother's ailing health, Bennett and her family moved to North Carolina, where her mother had relocated previously. Since leaving the military, Bennett has become the founder and CEO of S&M Seamless Gutters Training Academy, LLC.
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Processed by Victoria Hinshaw.
- Vanessa Sharpe Bennett Collection
- Victoria Hinshaw
- October 2022
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