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NEWS | Aug. 8, 2016

Army Reserve legal officer prepares for deployment

By Spc. David Lietz 85th Support Command

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Army Reserve Capt. Jessica Herdrich, Trial Counsel, 85th Support Command, is preparing to deploy to Kuwait for a one-year legal assistance mission.

Her duties will include assisting deployed soldiers with credit problems, custody issues and pending legal matters in the civilian court system.

“It’s my first deployment and I’m very excited to go. I’ve never been away from home this long before,” explained Herdrich, a Carol Stream resident. “I have a battle buddy there and I am really looking forward to going.”

Herdrich explained that her parents are as supportive as possible in preparing for her to depart overseas; her mother is encouraging to her to go on the mission to strengthen her career.

“I got my mom a cell phone… I think it’s going to help us stay connected in the next year,” she said.

Herdrich became interested in law during high school after watching the television series “JAG”.

“I liked the TV show and wanted to do what they did. Of course, real Army law is nothing like the show JAG,” she commented with a bit of laughter.

Herdrich was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. During her youth, she enjoyed twirling the baton, but gave it up when she signed up for the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, at Wheaton College, as part of the "Rolling Thunder" Battalion.

“I was (at Wheaton College) four years and earned my commission through the ROTC program,” she said.

This was in the days following the attacks on September 11, 2001. On September 11, the children in her mother’s day care program saw what was happening on TV, and asked her who would protect them. Herdrich stated that children usually forget things in a few weeks, but this seemed to linger, so that motivated her to join the military. The next year she signed up for Army ROTC.

“I made sure the kids saw me leaving the house in my uniform. If (the kids) thought I was going to get (the enemy) every day and come back in time to play with them, then that was OK,” she said humorously.

Herdrich explained that she joined the military because of the children at her mother’s daycare, but that she was grateful that she joined because the Army gave her a career path and a new life.

Herdrich was commissioned in 2006. She had to resign her active duty commission when she applied for a direct commission in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2011.

In her spare time, Herdich teaches baton lessons.

Herdrich is a graduate of John Marshall Law School in Chicago where she attended between 2006 and 2009.