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16 year journey: Master Sgt. to officer

Photo of Airmen speaking around a table.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Russell Moyer, 307th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer, interacts with Airmen from the unit June 30, 2020 at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. He went to great lengths to commission after being enlisted for 16 years. Moyer's motivation to take care of his Airmen is what pushed him through his adversities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Celeste Zuniga)

Photo of Airman reading paperwork at a table.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Russell Moyer, 307th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer, looks over paperwork at June 30, 2020 at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. After missing the chance to commission in 2007, he persevered and became an officer 13 years later. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Celeste Zuniga)

Photo of Airman standing in front of a B-52 Stratofortress.

U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Russell Moyer, 307th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations officer, poses in front of a B-52 Stratofortress June 30, 2020 at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Moyer decided to commission after 16 years in service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Celeste Zuniga)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

2nd Lt. Russell Moyer, assigned as a 307th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron officer, has never let hardships limit him from achieving his goals.

Even when faced with barriers, he continued to persist and sharpen his leadership skills in order to take care of those around him.

Moyer is a first-generation Airman who was inspired to join the military after the 9/11 attack.

Though he wanted to commission in 2007, he decided against it. Cutbacks were being made in the officer corps, and he needed a stable job to provide for his family.

After 16 years of enlisted service, he had the opportunity to attend the Officer Training School-Accelerated Commissioning Program and commission in only two weeks.

However, he was not able to complete his OTS package on time. His only options were to either go through the standard OTS or stay enlisted.

Although his course would now be nine and a half weeks long as opposed to two weeks, he ultimately decided to stick with his decision.

“I always keep in mind that I’m doing this to take care of my Airmen,” he said of his choice to continue the process.

Moyer’s first step was to pass the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test. His application was then reviewed by the Officer Training School Selection Board, and he had to complete his OTS package.

His age was an obstacle, because most people start commissioning earlier, he said. Making sure everything on his paperwork was correct was also difficult.

Once he made it to OTS, Moyer was faced with another obstacle: COVID-19.

The officers in training were worried about how the pandemic would affect their graduation dates.

“They did an awesome job keeping us separated and making sure we could get all of our training done on time,” he said. “I can’t say enough good things about the staff at OTS,”

After commissioning May 22, 2020, Moyer is back at the 307th Bomb Wing.

He is currently overseeing the Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and waiting for a date to start his new technical training course.

Moyer’s advice for new Airmen who want to commission one day is to keep going despite obstacles, never take no as an answer and always remember to take care of your people.

“Don’t get stuck in your job if you’re not where you want to be,” he said, reflecting on his journey. “If there’s a will to get it done, there’s a way.”