By Elizabeth Rittiman - April 7th, 2015
Learn more about the dedicated staff members serving and supporting our students. This month’s staff spotlight is on SFC (Ret.) Jay Drake, our lead expert on all things military.
Sergeant First Class (Ret.) Jay Drake is our Learning Solutions Manager who works primarily with those incoming students with a military background, whether currently or past. If you have a military affiliation, you have likely been in contact with Jay.
A Family History in the Military
Jay enlisted into the United States Army in 1993 as a Combat Medic to follow in his father’s footsteps who also is a retired Army Combat Medic. “We were always around the military and as a child you get used to your father being away for certain amounts of time. This makes you and your family stronger. My family enjoyed the time moving around,” reflects Jay on his childhood.
He attended Basic Combat training at Fort Leonard in Wood, Missouri and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Sam in Houston, Texas. After completing his Combat Medic Training he was sent to Hanau, Germany and assigned to Task Force Aviation 7-227. During that time he was deployed for Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia. Following his time in Germany he took a permanent change of station (PCS) to Korea and was assigned to the 2ND infantry division as the Sr. Medical Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) for 5-5 ADA.
Life as a Military Father
Upon completion of his tour, Jay was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas for the first time. It was there he met his wife Kimberly who is from Killeen. He PCS’d again to Fort Wainwright, Alaska and was assigned to 1-17th Infantry where he was the Evacuation NCO then the Medical Platoon Sergeant. While in Alaska, their son was born and shortly afterward they PCS’d back to Fort Hood where he was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division as a Medical Platoon Sergeant.
“My son was always like ‘Where are we going next?'” says Jay. “In the military community, you always have a support system to fall back on, and your family will be taken care of even while you are deployed.”
In 2004, he deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning form the deployment he was assigned to Healthcare (AMEDD) Recruiting. He was a Physician Recruiter, Station Commander, and Master Trainer and Recruiting First Sergeant until his retirement in 2014.
SFC (Ret.) Jay Drake was awarded the Bronze Star, The Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, The Army Commendation Medal with 7 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Combat Medical Badge. “My time in the Army has prepared my family and me for this career as I do travel the Globe for CSU Global. We have a saying at home that with my travel I put the Global in CSU Global,” says Jay.
A Commitment to Education
While serving for 22 years he was able to finish his education through the use of Tuition Assistance which paved his way for employment after his Army career as the Learning Solutions Manager for Active Military and Veterans where he still connects with his military roots and is able to show the benefits to finishing your education through CSU Global.
“At CSU Global I get to visit all types of military locations – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard Armories, and the Coast Guard. I get to interact with all ranks of service members throughout the country and get to show how CSU Global is a great choice for their education. I also get to demonstrate to them how it will pay off after their military career. I feel that I am more than outreach for CSU Global but a counselor to those service members that I meet, which is exactly what you do as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the Military,” says Jay. “I feel my past military experience allows me to connect as a Brother in Arms with their best interest at heart.”
Elizabeth Rittiman spent the first seven years of her career working in television news. When she moved to Denver with her husband in 2011 she used the opportunity to switch gears in her career to find a role where she could be more of an advocate for the things she was passionate about, education being one of them. When she’s not working, she enjoys skiing and snowshoeing in the Rocky Mountains.