Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Cody Hitson, who served as a journalist and deployed to Afghanistan.
Cody Hitson was born in Wetumpka, Alabama, and enlisted in the Navy the summer before his senior year of high school. His family had a legacy of Navy service, and he wanted to be an asset to the country. Therefore, after graduating high school, he left for bootcamp at Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago, Illinois, in July 2006.
After graduating from bootcamp in September, he began lithography training at the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland.
After, Hitson served aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt as a printer technician. In October 2008, the aircraft carrier deployed to the Gulf of Oman as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Hitson also started working in the public affairs office as the assistant editor of the daily ship newsletter. Providing a morale boost, the newsletter offered updates on life beyond the ship and was a way for crewmembers to learn about the various jobs on the ship.
Hitson went to shore duty at Sigonella Air Station in Sicily halfway through 2010. In 2011, Hitson deployed to Afghanistan as part of the American Forces Network. There, his job as a journalist was to embed with different operating units as well as film and edit news and radio feature stories. One of his favorite stories involved documenting a band of military members from different countries and fields who would meet once a week. The band later produced a record and donated all proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.
In June 2011, he returned to Sigonella Air Station, which was a staging location for operations in Libya. He continued documenting and taking historical records to share with media outlets.
In 2013, Hitson transitioned from active duty to the Reserve. He was part of the Reserve for six years. During this time, he worked full time for a construction company and was a full-time college student. He also got married and became a father to two boys.
Hitson finished his military service in 2018 as a petty officer first class. During his service, he received a Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal and Joint Meritorious Unit Award. The Navy gave Hitson incredible stories to share and offered an altered life perspective about what matters in the grand scheme of things. The Navy challenged Hitson, but he now has the mental fortitude to see tasks through, which is a beneficial skill for his current job in federal law enforcement.
Thank you for your service!
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Writer: Kimberly Kassis
Editor: Rachel Falconer
Fact checker: Hannah Bundschuh
Graphic artist: Mohogany Bridges