From Underdog to Officer: an Airman’s journey to the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jessica Avallone
  • 501 CSW/PA

Underdogs require resilience, perseverance, and grit; Staff Sgt. Michael Ryan Pribhdas, 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron Flight and Operational Medical Technician has proven to have all of that and more on his journey to the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program (NECP).

Driven by a profound desire to serve others, provide outstanding healthcare, and “refine my leadership qualities as an Air Force Nurse Corps Officer, I confidently believe that being a nurse best suits me and fuels my motivation to positively impact the lives of those in need,” said Pribhdas. “I am driven to offer our service members, dependents, and communities the exceptional health care they deserve.”

Staff Sgt. Pribhdas first applied for NECP in 2022 where he was selected as an alternate.

“Finding out the results that year gave me the hope that I have potential and that I was close, but not close enough,” said Pribhdas. “This encouraged me to not give up because the next time I apply, I will be closer to being selected.”

However, applying again in 2023 led to the exact opposite outcome.

“I was devastated. I allowed myself a moment to be upset and disappointed. After that, I persevered,” said Pribhdas. A quote from a book that he read during this last NECP application that made him even more relentless was The Power of One More, by author Ed Mylett quoting “If you ever want to achieve anything meaningful in your life, the strategy you must master, is one more try.”

Approaching his 10th year serving in the military, Pribhdas knew that his third submission would make or break him.

After countless package revisions, guidance from “a team of mentors that has supported me every step of the way” and being reminded of his goal every time he saw the shine of the butter bars hanging over his desk; the third NECP submission was the one congratulating him on his acceptance into the program.

“I am thankful to be deployed here at the 99th ERS during my selection of NECP,” said Pribhdas. “My wife is my biggest supporter and extremely proud. My parents are thrilled for me, every Filipino wants their kid to be a nurse!”

Not only was he accepted into the program but now future 2nd Lt. Pribhdas gets to be “the first NECP student attending the BSN program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I hope that by making history for this school, I can increase the affiliation between the Air Force NECP and UNLV. I’m also proud to represent my hometown, Las Vegas!”

Whether it’s pursuing the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program or any goal that seems out of reach “never give up on your dreams and goals, it’s never too late to start.”