Trading in their stripes for bars

Joining the officer ranks: trading in their stripes for bars

Marilyn C. Holliday

Seven Airmen from the 70th Intelligence Wing have been selected to trade in their stripes for bars.

These Airmen are either part of the Airman Education and Commissioning Program or were selected to attend Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

Two Airmen will be completing their degrees before re-entering the Air Force as part of the officer corps. They are Staff Sgt. David Wooddell and Senior Airman Heather Ingraffia.

Staff Sgt. David Wooddell

Sergeant Wooddell will be attending the University of Maryland and will major in applied mathematics. He was an honors graduate from the Defense Language Institute in 1997.

“I am seeking a commission to bring a new personal challenge to my Air Force career and to make a difference in the lives of the enlisted force members,” Sergeant Wooddell said.

Last year Sergeant Wooddell filled a vacant master sergeant’s position as the civil engineering superintendent. “It was during this time that I learned the most important aspect regarding leadership … empowering Airmen. Without any Airmen I could never have accomplished what I had been given credit for. I realize the importance of leadership and, more importantly, the value of the lowest ranking member of the team,” he said.

His commander, Lt. Col. John Kaplan from the 694th Support Squadron, said, “Sergeant Wooddell is an exceptional NCO dedicated to excellence in the Air Force. He is extremely adaptable to any role or task. He welcomes and excels in new challenges and responsibilities outside of his career field.”

Senior Airman Heather Ingraffia

Airman Ingraffia will be part of the AECP through the Reserve Officer Training Corps during a two-year degree program at UCLA, studying Persian/Farsi. She begins school in September. Currently she is a cryptologic linguist with the 94th Intelligence Squadron.

“My desire to become an Air Force officer manifested early in my career because of the example set by those around me,” Airman Ingraffia said. “It would be an honor and privilege to become a leader and mentor to future generations. As a commissioned officer in the Air Force, I will share my skills and experiences, ranging from helping others as an academic tutor in tech school to my growing leadership and personal skills in my current position as an operator and trainer in the Consolidated Remote Operations Facility, Airborne.”

According to her commander, Lt. Col. M.J. Mitchell, “She is reliable and competent and extremely focused and committed. Airman Ingraffia sets the standard and there is no limit to what she can accomplish as an officer. She is an involved Air Force professional and epitomizes the core values of the Air Force.”

The Airmen who have been chosen to attend Officer Training School are Staff Sgts. Mark Avery, Robert Chambles, Christopher Delsid, Eric Saunders and Tech. Sgt. John Hartsock.

Staff Sgt. Mark Avery

Sergeant Avery is currently assigned to the 32nd IS. He will enter the officer corps as an intelligence officer.

“In my profession, I am responsible for results,” Sergeant Avery said. “I act with courage, consideration and discretion. I prefer to let my work speak for me and believe in achieving visibility through effective productivity. In planning my weeks and days, I focus on key roles and goals to maintain balance and perspective. America was built by purpose-driven people–I have purpose and the courage to act.”

“He leads in every capacity I’ve seen him serve in,” Lt. Col. James Rix, 32nd IS commander, said. “His keen powers of concentration make him able to filter out the noise around him, yet also enable him to tackle multiple challenges simultaneously. He is well-suited to the demanding, multi-tasking requirements of the rated and ops fields.”

Staff Sgt. Robert Chambless

Sergeant Chambless, a member of the 22nd IS, will also attend OTS and become an intelligence officer.

“Throughout my life, I have always wanted to be an Air Force officer,” Sergeant Chambless said. “I want to embody the image, prestige, responsibility and excellence that is an officer in the United States Air Force. I am blessed to have many abilities and gifts that the Air Force has developed within me, and I look forward to being able to give back to the service as an officer.”

“He is an outstanding NCO with uncompromising integrity and utmost professionalism,” Lt. Col. Mary O’Brien, 22nd IS commander, said. “Sergeant Chambless has the leadership, mental ability, maturity and eagerness to help others that we expect of an officer. He has proven himself capable and deserving of the increased challenge and responsibility of a commission.”

Staff Sgt. Christopher Delsid

Sergeant Delsid will attend OTS and become a navigator.

“What I can offer the Air Force is my enlisted experience and intelligence training, my creativity and commitment, my maturity and determination to excel at every mission and my work ethic developed over the course of four years of dedicated active service to the country,” Sergeant Delsid said. “Superb officers throughout my career have provided me with role models encouraging me to aspire to even higher goals. I wish to stand among them and continue to set the example for my peers.”

“Sergeant Delsid demonstrates unlimited potential and has shown himself to be worthy of any assignment or challenge,” Lt. Col. Mary O’Brien, 22nd IS commander, said. “He has consistently surpassed all expectations in every position he has held, exceeding his peers in production, accuracy and quality time after time. He is a standout performer who sets the standards for others to follow.”

Tech. Sgt. John Hartsock

Sergeant Hartsock will also attend OTS and become an intelligence officer. He is currently assigned to the 91st Intelligence Squadron.

“There are many reasons why I desire a commission in the United States Air Force, but one reason stands above the rest,” Sergeant Hartsock said. “I want to be a commander. I want a commission so I can earn increased leadership, command and responsibility of resources. Now more than ever, the Air Force needs officers who are willing to faithfully execute the mission while still taking care of their people.”

“His highly energetic, eager and contagious attitude serve him to make the best of every situation,” Lt. Col. Darren Medlin, 91st IS commander, said. “He always views the tough jobs as welcomed challenges. He has clearly set himself apart from his peers and is an example of what is needed in the officer ranks. He is a dedicated leader, mentor, worker and student who always finishes at the top.”

Staff Sgt. Eric Saunders

Sergeant Saunders will also attend OTS and become an intelligence officer. He is currently assigned to the 32nd IS.

“I entered the Air Force as a linguist with visions of foreign travel and tours to exotic destinations,” Sergeant Saunders said. “Although I have not traveled abroad as I envisioned, the Air Force has opened up a world of new possibilities for me. I feel that an Air Force commission will allow me to further challenge myself and continue my growth both personally and professionally. As an enlisted Air Force member I have had the privilege of watching the example of the world’s best leaders.”

“Sergeant Saunders’ life experiences and personality allow him to communicate with people in a professional, straightforward manner,” Colonel Rix said. “His years in the enlisted ranks and work experience provide him with a wealth of interpersonal skills to draw from. His name is synonymous with integrity, loyalty, commitment and dedication.”

by Marilyn C. Holliday

70th IW/PA

Fort Meade, Md.

COPYRIGHT 2004 U.S. Air Intelligence Agency

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group