MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Dreams come true everyday. For Airmen, some want to travel the world, some want to become a general and others want to have a family. Dreams, however, do not happen on their own. It requires sacrifice, dedication and working smarter and harder than you have before. This truth stares each of us in the face everyday. If you choose to acknowledge it and apply it, your dreams can come true. Just ask Senior Airman Jalen Thompson.
Thompson, a 366th Maintenance Squadron aerospace ground equipment mechanic, recently received news that his dreams will come true by earning entry into the Airman Scholarship Commissioning Program because of his outstanding servitude, pursuit of betterment and hard work.
This opportunity allows Thompson to go to college on a full-ride scholarship, including room and board and a monthly stipend, with the goal in mind to become an officer in the U.S. Air Force after graduation.
Thomas mentioned what this means for his family, “My son is my focus and drive. Now, I’ll be better able to raise him while working as an Air Force officer. It’s exciting!”
Thompson is on a journey of a lifetime now, but it started long before he applied for the program.
Thompson finished his career development courses early and took college classes to demonstrate his history of motivated self-betterment.
From there, he made sure to pursue excellence at work and in the community by becoming a ceremonial guardsman, as it doubles as a commitment to the Air Force and the public.
Thompson said that sacrificing his free time to improve himself and help others played a big part in bringing about this opportunity and his leadership agrees.
“It’s awesome to see the payoff of an Airman that has been determined to achieve his goals,” said Chief Paul Crisostomo, 366th Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “I am proud of his dedication to the Air Force and the community.”
However, being a good person was not enough to earn the scholarship. Applicants needed to submit a package that met specific requirements.
“I had to do my own research,” Thompson said. “I had to dig and dig and find the right people to ask questions so that I knew how to build a winning package.”
Thompson explained that the presentation of the package submitted for the program is also taken into consideration.
“Every minute detail is graded,” Thompson said. “Formatting or grammar could make the difference so it had to be perfect.”
After all the preparation, Thompson sent in his package. But he had no time to wait for an answer - he had orders to deploy.
While on deployment, at exactly 3:00 a.m. his time, Chief Wendell Snider, 366th Fighter Wing command chief, called Thompson.
Thompson said he nervously thought before answering the phone, “What could this be about? Did I do something wrong?”
Then Snider mentioned the program and that he got accepted. Suddenly, his mood shifted from nervous to excited.
“He told me how everyone was proud of me and encouraged me to continue to press on,” Thompson said. “I didn’t have the words on the phone, but once I hung up I was running around, celebrating with all the maintainers.”
Now that he has been accepted to the program, Thompson is planning for the future by aiming to be an intel or cyberspace officer.
“Regardless of what I get chosen for, I’m trying to be the best that I can be,” Thompson said. “I’m grateful and humbled they chose me.”
Thompson never thought his dreams would come true, and throughout this experience he learned a few lessons so that others’ dreams may come true, too.
“You have to find what motivates you and keep pressing on, no matter what anyone tells you,” Thompson said. “Anything is possible, but dreams are built on a foundation of hard work.”