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Enlisted members learn of opportunities to become officers

| Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Oct. 12, 2016

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

Enlisted service members at Joint Base San Antonio who want to become officers have several options and resources available to them to further their military career.

There are 10 programs enlisted members can apply to that provide the education and skills they need to obtain a commission as an officer.

On Sept. 28, 102 enlisted members obtained information on those programs at a town hall meeting led by Amanda Jalomo, JBSA-Randolph Education Center education specialist, and Senior Master Sgt. Jose Diaz, 59th Medical Wing career assistance adviser, at the JBSA-Lackland Wilford Hall Auditorium.

“We are educating the enlisted force on all the commissioning opportunities,” Diaz said. “We want to make sure the enlisted forces are aware of the different programs and different requirements.”

Jalomo provided information on the enlisted-to-commissioning programs, including points of contact and mentors, in a PowerPoint presentation. Several of the mentors are officers who went through one of the commissioning programs as a prior enlisted member and will help guide a current enlisted member who is applying to the same program they completed to become officers.

Diaz said mentors provide expertise of the programs to enlisted members.

“The application process is rigorous and individuals will encounter obstacles,” Diaz said. “This is where mentors come in and share their experiences of how they did it because they have been through it.”

During the meeting, mentors introduced themselves and made remarks about their experiences in the commissioning programs they went through and took questions from enlisted members. Enlisted members also got an opportunity to meet with mentors individually.

Airman 1st Class Kendon Freeman, 343rd Training Squadron commander support staff at JBSA-Lackland, said he liked learning about the various programs that enable enlisted members to become commissioned officers.

“I like to hear different versions of how people are commissioning and how they are doing that,” he said.

Staff Sgt. Nichole Hendricks, 558th Flying Training Squadron sensor operator instructor at JBSA-Randolph, said she wants to go into nursing and apply to the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program.

It’s a great program,” she said. “I’ll stay on active duty while keeping my benefits, which is important to me because I have a family.”

Hendricks, who has been in the Air Force for eight years, said she likes the Air Force and wants to continue to serve in a different capacity.

Capt. Maribel Seegmiller, 802nd Force Support Squadron chief of military personnel section at JBSA-Randolph, is a mentor for the Scholarships for Outstanding Airmen to ROTC program, or SOAR.

As a mentor, Seegmiller said she wants to follow the example provided by Lt. Col. Pete Beck, her ROTC commandant and mentor when she was in the SOAR program as a cadet at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“He was really influential in my career progression,” she said. “Anytime I had a big issue he was someone I could call. He always gave good advice and I could bounce ideas off of him. It was really nice to have someone who had a vested interest in my career progression.”

Seegmiller said she is looking forward to guiding an enlisted member who goes into the SOAR program, from the application process to the time they complete the program, through the perspective of someone who knows about the program and completed it.

“I love paying it forward,” Seegmiller said.

Jalomo said the town hall meeting format was the first of its kind for service members inquiring about educational opportunities at JBSA. To spread the word about enlisted-to-commissioning programs to service members, Jalomo said more town hall meetings could be held at other JBSA locations starting next year.

Any service members who want information about the enlisted-to-commissioning programs and the process for applying to each of them should contact one of the JBSA Education Centers, said Jalomo.

Contact the education centers at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, 221-0852/1294; JBSA-Lackland, 671-8711/8712; and JBSA-Randolph, 652-5964.