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Reserve Citizen Airman commissions directly into space mission

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Laura Turner
  • 310th Space Wing Public Affairs

When Margaret Ann Atkins first sat down with Tech. Sgt. Michael Smith, Officer Accessions recruiter at Scott Air Force Base, she knew exactly what she wanted to do in the Air Force Reserve. Without hesitation, Atkins expressed her interest in working with the space mission and requested that Smith look into it for her.

“Maggie’s first interview was one of my first officer accessions interviews, so I did not know what to expect,” said Smith. “She had a passion for the Air Force Reserve that you do not see very often anymore. She quickly met all of the qualifications and we started the interview process for careers.”

While interviewing for jobs that Smith knew were available in the region, Atkins asked him to look into space specifically. He was unsure of the possibility for Atkins to go straight into space, since it had only happened once before with the 19th Space Operations Squadron back in the year 2000. 

“At first I did not think it was a possibility,” said Smith. “But you could tell she was excited about it, so I looked into which commands had the space program, then reached out to Senior Master Sgt. [Edwin] Medina at 19 SOPS and he informed me that they would interview her. From there, Maggie did the rest; interviewed for the position and continued that drive to get in.”

On May 21, Atkins made the trip from her home in Kansas City, Kan., to Whiteman AFB, Miss., to complete her commissioning oath. Though she is an engineer, said Atkins, she is first an American who wants to serve her country and put her skills and education to use for the betterment of her country and its people. She encourages others looking for motivation to be patient and persistent with their goals.

“Patience is a lifelong skill and is no exception for achieving military goals,” said Atkins. “Be persistent in what your goals and objectives are, and do not get discouraged when something takes a little longer than what you expected.”

Atkins knew she wanted to be an Air Force Reserve officer and that a position in the Air Force itself would be on a different plain than other jobs she had applied for.

“Being patient and keeping my eye on the goal helped me stay positive and ready for each next step throughout the journey; from first contact with a recruiter to taking my oath,” said Atkins. “All my life, aerospace and engineering have been very high on my list of interests. Pairing that subject with Air Force service makes it even better!”

After completing Total Force Officer Training, formerly known as Officer Training School, Atkins will assume her rank as 2nd Lt. and become an official Reserve Citizen Airman. Her first officer position will be at 19 SOPS, part of the 310th Space Wing and the only Reserve space wing in the Air Force.

“I am very excited to join 19 SOPS!” said Atkins. “It is literally a dream come true to have been accepted into this unit.”