Year of the Pathfinder: 501 CSW/LG Airman plays unique role in Pathfinder mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Eugene Oliver
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

Where is home for you? What is your background?

I am from the small town of Hurricane WV right in the Appalachian Mountains.

How did your background help shape who you are today?

I was raised in a lower middle class family knowing that I was going to have to work for what I wanted, nothing was ever handed to me.  It taught me dedication and perseverance towards reaching the goals that I set for myself. 

What made you decide to pursue a role in the Air Force / military involvement?

As high school graduation approached, like many teenagers, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was tired of school and did not want to attend college, nor did I want to continue working at McDonalds. So I decided to enlist into the USAF and accepted the role of a Material Handling Equipment Vehicle Technician. 

What is your job and what motivates you to perform it? How do you contribute to our mission?

Currently I sit in the Contracting Officer Representative (COR) position in Wing Logistics. Waking up every day and knowing that Logistics plays a significant role in the 501st mission drives me to perform. Without our Logistics team people do not PCS, people do not deploy, people do not have government vehicles to operate, people do not receive their mail, dangerous goods do not move and bombs do not reach their target. People rely on what we do every single day. It is the people of the 501st and our tenant units that drive me to perform. Our logistics team consists of contractors, local national direct hires, DoD civilians, and military personnel. With such a diverse Logistics team spread out between five installations we have a responsibility to ensure the mission continues no matter what happens. Even a global pandemic cannot stop us. We may not be considered the tip of the spear but Logistics is the arm that throws the spear; the driving force moving the mission.

What does it mean to you to be a Pathfinder, and what makes you proud to be a part of this team? 

To me being a Pathfinder is looking back at where we were and finding that path to the future. Making that path takes a team. The people of this team is what makes me proud to be part of the 501st Combat Support Wing.  Between the contractors, LNDH, DoD civilians, and military of the 501st, I am proud to be part of such an amazing team of people ensuring the mission continues at all costs.  Specifically, I am overwhelmingly proud of my fellow CORs and contractors these past several months.  Time and time again we have had to change processes during the Covid-19 pandemic and our team has done an amazing job at ensuring the mission continues!

What are some future goals?

People play the crucial role in any organization so my future goal speaks just to that. I want to be a First Sergeant; I want to help people succeed. When I retire out of the military I want to use my gained military knowledge and my degree to help organizations succeed. I believe that success is the combination of many people coming together to meet a common goal. Ultimately my goal is to help others meet their goals.

What are your favorite parts about living here in the UK?

My favorite part of being in the UK is immersing ourselves in another culture and meeting a broad range of people. The close proximity to mainland Europe is a bonus that does not hurt either. 

How can we be a better Air Force?

I am proud to serve in the United States Air Force, serving alongside people from all walks of life. If one thing has hit home over the last several months, it’s that not everyone can say the same. Not everyone is proud of the family that is the United State Air Force. To be a better Air Force we all must come together in these trying times to show the world what true inclusion means. We must embrace our differences because it is our differences that make us strong. My weakness may be your strength and if we band together we will have no weaknesses. It is strength through diversity that will make us a better Air Force.