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Air Force Reservist is reigning National United Ms. Emerald Coast

  • Published
  • By Capt. Jose Lopez-Fornes
  • 28th Intelligence Squadron, 655th ISR Wing Public Affairs

It is not often the case you see a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer crossing into the world of beauty pageants. However, for Maj. Samantha Burrill Westman, the opportunity to merge both worlds came true.

Maj. Burrill Westman, 28th Intelligence Squadron flight commander, Tactical Systems Operators (TSO) flight, had the opportunity to compete during the February 2021 International United Miss Florida State pageant. From there, she qualified in July to compete at the 2021 Nationals in New Jersey as National United Ms. Emerald Coast.

The week-long affair was filled with multiple events to include an evening gown presentation, personal introductions, one on one personal interviews with the judges, and high fashion runway.

“The entire event was an incredible experience, as I was able to participate in multiple dinner parties, including one with a World’s fair theme where the outgoing royalty represented multiple countries and cultures and another one where each delegate brought a themed toy for our new royalty to donate when they return to their homes, enabling the pageant system to extend their philanthropic reach across the country,” expressed Maj. Burrill Westman.

“My experience with the International United Miss Pageant system has been nothing short of inspiring. This has given me the opportunity to give back to fellow Airmen as I was invited to speak at Air University to a class about breaking stereotypes,” added Maj. Burrill Westman.

International United Miss is a scholarship-style pageant system dedicated to the girls and woman who represent it. They pride themselves in recognizing the incredible accomplishments of their Queens and competitors, achieved both on and off the pageant stage. The experienced directors and staff have worked diligently to create a pageant organization focused on the competition aspects that work the best and that delegates enjoy the most.

“Beauty is not only on the outside, but the inside as well, which is why the IUM Pageant organization based their system around the aspects of personal judges’ interview, community service and involvement, and poise and personality during on stage competitions,” said Maj. Burrill Westman.

“Some of my favorite memories from Nationals include the friendships I formed with the rest of the contestants in my division, late nights with my division Queens practicing the opening number dance, and probably the most treasured, getting to spend time with my cousin, who was competing in the International competition as Miss Tennessee! I had a great time at Nationals, and even though I did not win my division, I look forward to finishing my year in service as Ms. Emerald Coast,” added Maj. Burrill Westman.

Maj. Burrill Westman continues her commitment as a full-time reservist with the 28th IS. TSOs are airborne intelligence operators who are qualified to fly on all light fixed wing aircraft within the Air Force Special Operations Command inventory, and are also able to quickly plug and play on emerging tactical assets through quick field installations of a variety of carry-on systems.

"I can't think of any better representation of Beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself. Sam is fearless and loves unconditionally. She translates these core values into every aspect of her life ... with wit and a little bit of sparkle," expressed Maj. Jessica Vogle, assistant director of operations and flight commander at the 28th IS.