Shelnutt decided in 2010 she wanted to enter the U.S. Army Reserves to serve as a trial counselor with the Army’s legal branch in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps or JAG Corps as it is more commonly known.
She interviewed on Sept. 11, 2010, and was sworn in as a first lieutenant a year later.
This Memorial Day, she is home with her family for the weekend and returns later in the week to complete her last month of officer training at Ft. Benning.
“I think everybody in my class has the feeling that we want to serve our country,” Shelnutt said.
The pride in her country and the honor she feels in serving is apparent. Shelnutt grew up in Canton, graduated from Cherokee High School before heading to the University of Georgia for a master’s degree and later getting a law degree from Georgia State University.
Shelnutt could be up for deployment in 2014 for a year of active duty, depending on the speed of the troop drawn-down, she said.
“I think you know that going in at a time when our country is at war, there is a possibility you will be sent in,” Shelnutt said.
During her three years with the local district attorney’s office, Shelnutt specialized in cases of crimes against women and children, including family violence.
As a member of the JAG Corps, Shelnutt serves as a special prosecutor in cases where women and children are the victims.
“I had been interested in joining the military for quite some time, and decided to do it while I still qualified in the age category,” Shelnutt said.. “By joining the Reserves I can still do my job here and serve my country as well.”
When Shelnutt completes officer training next month she will be up for promotion to captain.
She is the daughter of Jane Shelnutt and Lanier Shelnutt.