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AFMAO Airman selected for commission months after STEP promotion

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kaitlyn Maricle
  • Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Public Affairs

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Delaware - Ask Tech. Sgt. Jacob Jones to describe the successes of the last seven months, and he'll come up with one word - "Unbelievable."

Jones, NCOIC of Readiness and Plans for Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, was selected for a promotion to technical sergeant in December through the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program, earning him an immediate step up in rank. While this is a milestone accomplishment for any Airman, it was far from the final milestone for Jones.

AFMAO leadership informed Jones July 19 he had been selected to commission as a remotely piloted aircraft pilot, marking two outstanding selections for career advancement in less than a year.

His journey to commission started earlier in 2021, when he was inspired by one of his teammates to take the Air Force Officer Qualification Test, which is required for those interested in becoming an officer. After scoring well in the aspects of the exam that applied to aviation skills, Jones decided to test his skills one step further by taking the Test of Basic Aviation Skills.

"Go until you're told not to go, right?" said Jones.

Jones had never flown any sort of aircraft before taking the TBAS exam but still scored well, crediting his performance to sports and video games, which he said helped his multitasking skills. His test scores plus his application package led to his selection as an RPA pilot, which was one of three rated career fields he applied for.

Jones accomplished this all while finishing a bachelor's degree in sports management from American Military University and raising his two daughters Venice and Ryleigh with his wife Rebecca. Jones says his wife, who earned her nursing degree during one of his deployments shortly after Venice was born, is his biggest motivator and supporter.

"She has pushed me to be better in every aspect," said Jones. "Seeing her get her degree by herself, while raising a child by herself, while I was gone was my motivation. If I was having a hard time, she and my family were my support system. She'll always continue to push me."

Jones's hard work is noticed by his peers and his leader. Senior Master Sgt. Cherie Burns, AFMAO Readiness and Plans superintendent, knew Jones as an airman first class and sees the growth and the work he's accomplished.

"He is willing to learn and get his hands dirty," said Burns. "He doesn't shy away from work and he likes to be challenged. I am extremely proud of how he has progressed. I think he will do very, very well."

Jones expects to depart for Officer Training School in early 2023 and is ready for the next chapter.

"I'm excited," he said. "I can't wait to get started."