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Sherri L. Onorati

Jan. 2020 – Sherri Lyn Panchaud Onorati
U.S. Navy 1984-2006

The Tipton County Museum Veteran of the Month for January 2020 is Sherri Lyn Onorati. Sherri was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on February 24, 1966, the first-born of David Panchaud, a Bermudian who had just moved to the United States two years earlier and Rita Guard of Ohio. Growing up in the
U.S. and Bermuda, Sherri fell in love with the ocean and tall ships and decided at an early age to join the United States Navy and serve the country that allowed her grandparents to move to it.

She enlisted on June 5, 1984, 10 days after graduating high school as an undesignated seaman. Her first duty station was the Enlisted Personnel Management Center (EPMAC) in New Orleans where her talent for the visual arts was discovered, leading her to be designated as an Illustrator Draftsman (OM). Her skills led her to the intelligence community, joint assignments and two tours in Hawaii. She also served with Naval Strike Air Warfare Center (NSAWC) – otherwise known as Top Gun – when it moved to Fallon, Nevada. A tour onboard the USS WASP (LHD 1) to run the ship’s graphic shop and ultimately, the onboard TV and radio stations and Public Affairs Office, led to a change-in-rate 17 years after she first enlisted to Journalism (JO).

Her last duty station assignment brought her to Tipton County and Covington in October 2001 as the Community Service Program Manager for Naval Personnel Command (PERS-6) onboard Naval Support Activity Mid-South. She retired on Aug 31, 2006 as a Journalist Chief Petty Officer.
She met the love of her life, Gary Steven Onorati, at her first duty station in New Orleans when she was just a seaman and he was a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps. Their relationship withstood the disapproval of the Marine Corps and his transfer to Okinawa, eventually marrying on March 15, 1989. Sherri and Steven are the proud parents of three sons, Riean James, Nikolai Connor and Takoda Grey, and two grandsons, Liam Cale and Rowan James and an undesignated grandchild expected in June 2020!
Sherri realized by her third re-enlistment that she had been given the Oath of Enlistment by officers of different services due to her assignments with joint commands, so she continued that trend. By the time her career ended, she had taken the Oath of Enlistment five times and each time the oath was given by an officer of a sister service. She feels it is fitting that her first enlistment oath was with the Navy and her last was with the United State’s other sea service, the Coast Guard… on a yacht on Lake Tahoe.

For her service to our country, Sherri was awarded two National Defense Service Medals, six Good Conduct Medals, five Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, three Joint Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbons and a Navy “E” Ribbon. She is also authorized to wear the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) breast insignia and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) breast insignia. ·

Although Tennessee was never on her radar at any time, she and her husband decided to stay in Tipton County to let their sons finish school. Twenty years later, the next generation is now emerging and they have finally gotten used to the place.

Sherri was nominated for Veteran of the Month by Andy Dunavant, who was the March 2015 Veteran of the Month.