Whiteman Airman trades stripes for bars

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Cody H. Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman Benjamin Williams, 19th Munitions Squadron weapons maintenance trainer, was selected to attend Officer Training School and will exchange his stripes for bars.

The Airman is scheduled to attend a 60-day Basic Officer Training course within OTS at Maxwell and Gunter Annex, Ala., where he will learn the characteristics, skills and mindset it takes to become a leader in the world's greatest Air and Space Force.

"At least I get the privilege of being told no," was a joke Airman Williams went into the OTS selection with since many of the previous boards were cancelled. To his surprise he was part of the six percent, 63 of 971 Airmen, selected for the course.

The Air Force Materiel Command member said his acceptance into officer training school comes is turning point in his life.

"I'm anxious!" Airman Williams said. "There is still a lot of work I want to get done in my shop before I leave and I know this is going to be a major change for my family."

The Airman, who came into the military with two bachelor's degrees, one in education and another in political science, said he is ready for change and a chance to lead.

"It's not one of those 'I have to be in charge kind of things'," he explained. "Yes it's a promotion, yes it's a bump-up in pay, but I look at it as a new opportunity. Career progression on the officer side seems more varied which appeals to me."

The senior airman came into the Air Force wanting to eventually become an officer, but he said being enlisted and learning a job and skill-set was a beneficial start to his career.

"As an officer with prior enlisted service, I think it will provide me a greater perspective, which in return, will help me lead," the officer candidate said. "I know what it's like to be a maintainer."

Airman Williams will move from an enlisted weapons troop to an aircraft maintenance officer.

"It's funny because with all this great news, I'm actually really excited to put on my staff stripe in two months," he said. "That's still what I'm most looking forward to."

Airman Williams will be notified within 90 days for his class date and offers advice to his fellow Airmen for those who have thought about making the transition from stripes to bars.

"Anyone interested in applying for OTS should plan ahead, use the base education center to help plan their degree and application process," Airman Williams said. "Give it time and be patient."