Tildenville teacher flies to Middle East for military pinning

Jenna Vincitore surprised her husband during a ceremony in which he was promoted to U.S. Navy chief.

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Cody and Jenna Vincitore had not seen one another for more than a year — so when his friends offered to fly her to the Middle East to attend his military promotion pinning ceremony, she didn’t hesitate.

Cody Vincitore recently was promoted to chief in the U.S. Navy; Jenna Vincitore is a music teacher at Tildenville Elementary School.

The Vincitores had to say goodbye to each other more than a year ago when he was deployed overseas with the Navy. He recently applied for and received a promotion, and his friends made sure Jenna Vincitore could be there for the big day.

“He made the rank of chief, which is a really big deal in the Navy,” Jenna Vincitore said. “He’s worked really hard for it, and it’s a really intense process they go through. His friend reached out to me who works with him and said, ‘I have an idea. … You haven’t been out here and he’s getting ready to come home. … Before Cody leaves we want to surprise him; he means so much to our office. … We want to bring you out here to surprise him.”

After arranging to take a few days off her job, Jenna Vincitore was on a 15-hour flight to the Middle East. Once she arrived, her husband’s friends picked her up and took her to her hotel, where she stayed inside until his ceremony the next day, Oct. 20.

“We sat in the audience, and when they marched in, his friends hid me,” she said.

It’s customary to announce the name of the person who will be performing the pinning duties, and when Jenna Vincitore’s name was called, Cody Vincitore simply thought it was a sweet gesture to say her name symbolically.

And then he saw his wife standing there in her teal dress, ready to pin on his left and right anchors.

“He just closed his eyes, and tears came out,” she said. “He was so shocked when he saw me.

He said, ‘I just can’t believe you are standing here.’”

Although it was a quick visit for the Vincitores, they were able to attend a U.S. Navy Khaki Ball on Friday and tour the area and try out the local cuisine before she headed home Saturday night.

“I feel really blessed that his friends reached out to me,” Jenna Vincitore said. “It was an amazing weekend; it was an awesome experience.”

Cody Vincitore is expected back in Orlando Nov. 18 and will make the switch from active duty to reserve duty.

Jenna Vincitore is excited to have him home later this month. Because of the time difference between the continents, Cody was getting off work when Jenna was getting up for work, she said, so talking was difficult. They did get to make phone calls and occasional FaceTime calls on the weekends.

She said she has stayed busy in the last year while her husband has been away thanks to a wonderful support group of friends.

Jenna and Cody Vincitore were married Dec. 20, 2020, so they missed their first anniversary. She said her parents celebrated with her so she wasn’t alone on the couple’s special day.

Last year, after her husband left for his deployment, Jenna Vincitore’s coworkers at Tildenville Elementary put together a care package for her that included some of her favorite things.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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