News>Two from Keesler selected for officer training
Staff Sgt. Aaron Howard, 338th Training Squadron instructor, and Staff Sgt. Kwanza Lincoln, 338th TRS student, work on switchboard equipment during a cyber transport class at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Howard was recently selected to attend Basic Officer Training Sept. 14, 2012, and will go on to be a combat systems officer. (Courtesy photo)
Staff Sgt. Leonard Patterson, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician, retrieves an item from the office copier at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. Patterson was recently selected to attend Basic Officer Training Spet. 14, 2012, and will go on to be a remotely-piloted aircraft pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Steve Pivnick)
by Steve Pivnick
81st Medical Group Public Affairs
9/19/2012 - KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Staff Sgts. Leonard Patterson, 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician, and Aaron Howard, 338th Training Squadron cyber transport instructor, will soon shed their stripes, don gold second lieutenant bars and enter Basic Officer Training. Howard and Patterson are two of only 47 enlisted members and 398 total selected for the program Sept. 14.
Patterson will be training as a remotely-piloted aircraft pilot and Howard will be training as a combat systems officer, or navigator. They expect to leave Keesler sometime between this November and Feb. 2013 to attend the 12.5 week Basic Officer Training course at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
"I was ecstatic; excited and relieved at the same time," Patterson said. "I was on pins and needles all day. I knew the announcement was coming down but didn't know whether it would be 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down.'"
He had applied for BOT in June.
"That was when my package was submitted for the board I was selected for. I applied because I wanted to take the leadership abilities I've learned over the last five years and take them to the next level. After being deployed and seeing some of the immediate impact that pilots have down range, I wanted to be a part of that."
The future officer earned a degree in video game design from Full Sail University, located in Winter Park, Fla.
"I completed all my studies online," he explained. "I started in August of 2009 and graduated this past May. It correlates with my new Air Force duties as an RPA pilot."
Following BOT, he will be assigned to Randolph AFB, Texas, but will be sent on temporary duty to Pueblo, Colo., for seven weeks of initial flight screening. He returns to Randolph for 10-14 weeks of RPA fundamental instrument qualification.
"After that, I'll be sent to a formal training unit for another six months of training," he said.
After BOT, Howard will spend about a year training at Naval Air Station Pensacola and then move on to his next permanent duty station.
"I am extremely excited, this was my third time applying so I was starting to get the feeling I would never be picked," Howard said. "I hope this experience will show me what it is like to lead on a higher level and help develop my military career."