By: Mark Robertson
An emotional dedication ceremony for the Captain Jennifer J. Shafer Odom Physical Fitness
Center at Fort Detrick in Frederick, MD, was held Thursday, October 5, 2000.
Captain Odom graduated from Brunswick High School in 1988. She was class
valedictorian, vice president of the National Honor Society, a member of It's Academic, a
player on the varsity basketball team, and took part in drama productions.
She graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, in
1992. On July 23, 1999, at the young age of 29, Captain Odom tragically died while on a
narcotics mission in Colombia, South America, where she was piloting a plane that crashed
into an uncharted mountain.
Captain Odom was a distinguished pilot who commanded a UH60 Blackhawk
helicopter. She flew missions throughout Europe, Russia, North Africa, Iraq, and South
America before her premature death.
Major General John
S. Parker, Commanding General, U.S.. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and Fort
Detrick, decided to name the facility after Captain Odom because she was a model soldier.
Major General Parker, was one of the featured speakers at the ceremony
and stated, "Jennifer was a great soldier and officer. She was good at what she did and
she did what this nation asked of her."
The widower of Captain Odom, Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Charles Odom,
spoke about his late wife saying, "This is a fitting tribute to a great soldier."
He also went on to say, "duty, honor, and country was her way of life, not simply a
slogan she learned at West Point."
In addition to Charles Odom, Jennifer is
survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Shafer, and a brother, Brunswick High School
senior Wes Shafer
( Her grandparents Mr. Millard Webber
|The ceremony included the unveiling of a poignant plaque about Captain
Odom and a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the fitness center.
The new facility cost approximately $6.6 million and is a 37,445
square-foot physical fitness center. It replaces a vintage World War II gymnasium that was
condemned in 1995.
The new center houses a collegiate-sized basketball court, exercise and
weight rooms, racquetball courts, saunas, and showers. The physical fitness center will
serve anyone associated with Fort Detrick.
Under the direction of Director Joel Guyton and Drum Major Erin Taylor,
the Brunswick High Marching Railroaders band performed at the ceremony.
The band played the National Anthem, El Captain, Armed Forces Salute, Get
It On, Night In Tunisia, A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square, and Tiger of San Pedro.
Trumpeters David Ottinger and Shane Khoury had the honor of playing taps
to a silenced audience.