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442d Fighter Wing Public Affairs Airman aims high: A journey to becoming an officer in the United States Air Force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kristin Cerri
  • 442d Fighter Wing

Senior Airman Alex Chase, a public affairs specialist assigned to the 442d Fighter Wing, wears two hats— literally and figuratively speaking. One hat is red and displays the University of Central Missouri emblem on the front. Chase is an incoming junior at the university studying Criminal Justice.

The second hat is green and brown camouflage. It is his military cover. As a traditional reservist, Chase works as a public affairs specialist to provide photo and video documentation of wing operations and training.

While the two hats differ in style and color, they both represent the steps Chase is taking to accomplish one of his goals in life: becoming an officer in the United States Air Force.

Chase enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in 2018. He initially decided to enlist in the military for the variety of benefits the military provides its members. Chase’s time in both basic training and technical school inspired him to pursue a long-term career in the Air Force as an officer.

After being assigned to the 442 FW, Chase enrolled at the University of Central Missouri and subsequently joined the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps through University of Missouri. Being an enlisted member gave Chase an advantage in the AFROTC program.

“Typically, it’s a four-year program, but since I had already gone to BMT, I am eligible to go through the three-year program,” explained Chase. “I will commission as a 2nd Lt. upon graduation in 2023.”

Chase intends to pursue a career as a pilot, a combat systems officer, or a weapon systems officer. His time with the 442d FW continues to fuel his motivation.

“After being at Whiteman Air Force Base and meeting some great leaders, I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Chase. “I can say if it wasn’t for the great leaders I’ve met at Whiteman, I wouldn’t have had the inspiration to pursue this route.”

Chase recently returned from a two-week field training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. This training is a mandatory part of the AFROTC program. The cadets receive training in weapons, survival and deployment skills, and physical conditioning.

While Chase still has two years until he can trade his stripes for a bar, he is happy with his journey and excited for the future.

“I love that I can still be a full-time college student and enjoy everyday life as a civilian, while also taking some time out to be a part of such a great organization,” said Chase. “At first, I was nervous going into the military, but I can happily say that I have no regrets and can’t wait to see where my future in the United States Air Force takes me.”