Moody sergeant selected to advance education, AF career

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Eric Schloeffel
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
A Moody sergeant was recently selected as one of only 10 enlisted Airmen to attend an Air Force Institute of Technology master's degree program to further his education and in-turn help the Air Force accomplish its mission. 

Master Sgt. Joe Blackman, 71st Rescue Squadron loadmaster, is scheduled to embark on this educational journey this summer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he will work toward a degree in logistics management. 

"After I finished my bachelor's degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, my chief enlisted manager forwarded me some information about the program," said Sergeant Blackman. "Once I found out I was selected after the application and selection process was finished, I felt like I had won the lottery. There were only 10 slots for the enlisted side of the entire Air Force, so I figured my chances were narrow." 

During the 18 months of academics, his schooling in logistics management will include information on supply chain management, transportation and mobility, logistics acquisitions and the human relation-side of the military. 

"It will give me a good opportunity to see the whole logistics process," said Sergeant Blackman. "I will learn the process of new weapons system and their cost effectiveness, and how we put them in our budget for years into the future." 

Graduates of the program normally are slated to fill officer billets at the major command level. Sergeant Blackman welcomes the higher level of responsibility that will be expected from him after graduation, he said. 

"I definitely want to be on the management side of logistics," said the sergeant. "I've had jobs dealing with the technical aspects of the mission, but at this point in my career, I really enjoy dealing with the people aspect." 

While the program will assist the sergeant during his remaining years on active duty, he hopes his education will continue to benefit the Air Force after he retires. 

"This is going to help me become a better leader and manager, which will in-turn help my subordinates and superiors," said Sergeant Blackman. "But as I get closer to retirement, I am forced to think about the future since they won't let me stay on active duty forever. This program should really help me out. 

"If possible, I'd love the opportunity to join the civil service and work as a government civilian for the Air Force after I retire," he added. "I'm not going to get this degree and go running out the door; this is something that will allow me to use my knowledge to give back to the Air Force." 

One of the things Sergeant Blackman is most thankful of is the support of his superiors at the squadron and group level who ultimately provided him the opportunity to attend the school, he said. 

"The driving factor of this was that I had support and encouragement from all of my superiors, which really made a difference," said Sergeant Blackman. "This should send 
Airmen the message that they need to pursue their educational goal, and for supervisors and commanders to work with them until those goals are accomplished." 

Despite the fact he will be leaving the 71st RQS, his leadership didn't to send him to the school and they hope his dedication to excel will inspire other Airmen, said Lt. Col. William Taylor, 71st RQS commander. 

"Sergeant Blackman is an outstanding Airman who should serve as a model for others," said the colonel. "His selection to this program will benefit the Air Force by providing an outstanding master sergeant with developmental education in logistics management which leverages his already deep background in airlift and operational airlift control element experience. Our squadron always provides the utmost support to the endeavors of any Airman working toward higher education and greater professional development."