KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS - 4/26/2012) -- Some families
pass on estates, heirlooms, or recipes. All families pass on a
heritage. Master Sgt. Curtis M. Wilson's family heritage is more
than 300 years of military service spanning three generations.
With 21 years of service already, Sergeant Wilson recently
reenlisted with the help of his brother, Capt. Heath Wilson, in an
innovative ceremony rappelling from a wall at the U.S. Air Force
Pararescue School at Kirtland AFB, N.M.
Master Sgt. Curtis Wilson (left) takes the oath of reenlistment, administered by his brother Capt. Heath Wilson, as they rappel from a wall at the U.S. Air Force Pararescue School at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., April 2, 2012. Sergeant Wilson is a program manager at Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Headquarters at Kirtland AFB and Captain Wilson is a nurse with the 99th Medical Group at Nellis AFB, Nev. U.S. Air Force photo
by George Diamond
"I was planning to reenlist and asked my brother, who joined the Air
Force a year and a half ago as a nurse at Nellis AFB, Nev., if he
would administer the reenlistment oath," said Sergeant Wilson who is
a program manager for Command and Control Systems at the Air Force
Operational Test and Evaluation Center Headquarters at Kirtland. "We
were working on a plan when my brother decided last-minute to bring
his family for a visit during spring break, so we scrambled to make
With the help of AFOTEC's First Sergeant
Senior Master Sgt. Pete Padilla, they contacted the Pararescue
School where staff worked with them to make a memorable event. Two
of the school's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape instructors
gave Sergeant Wilson and his brother a quick repelling lesson before
they dropped 15 feet down the repelling wall and performed the
"We used a flag that I've carried
around to several deployed locations that include Qatar, Kuwait,
Iraq, and Afghanistan and suspended it between us," said Sergeant
been carrying this flag with the intent to present it to my brother
when I retire. In addition to all the places it's been, it's now the
flag he reenlisted me with and it was his first time to administer
the oath of reenlistment as an officer."
Sergeant Wilson's family has always supported his
military career and their own commitment to military
service. "There was always an environment of encouragement
when it came to joining the military," said Sergeant Wilson.
"Our family has served in every branch of the service,
including the Coast Guard, from grandparents, parents,
siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, and even my wife."
"I've been extremely lucky, and also immeasurably proud, to
serve alongside one of the best NCO's I've ever seen...my
wife," said Sergeant Wilson. His wife, Tech. Sgt. Kellie J.
Wilson, is assigned to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
at Kirtland. "My wife is my sounding board and support
system, with her 'insider's' understanding. It can be
difficult at times, but I think we're both better people and
better NCOs because of our shared military experience."
Sergeant Wilson echoes the sentiment of many service
members that military service is about being a part of
something bigger than any individual. "I serve because I'm
proud to put on the uniform every day and do a job I love,"
said Sergeant Wilson. "Also, throughout my career I have had
the opportunity and privilege to mentor up and coming Airmen
and that is very rewarding."
The sergeant went on to
explain that throughout his career experience he has been
able to share an important insight with new Airmen. "When
you join the military, it's important to understand that
this is not a "J-O-B" . . . it's a lifestyle and a
commitment," said Sergeant Wilson. If you take that
commitment seriously, you will reap the rewards of that
relationship between yourself, your service, and those with
whom you serve."
There have been many rewards for
this career NCO, however, he says the biggest reward has
been the pride he feels when he wears the uniform. "It isn't
an arrogant sort of pride, but the feeling that the Air
Force has helped me become a better person and a better
American Citizen...yes, with a big "A", big "C"... and has
shown me what I'm capable of as a person and a
Sergeant Wilson hopes his children
will carry on his family's tradition of service because he
thinks service gives a person a unique perspective of the
world. "It would make me extremely proud for my children to
one day tell me they want to 'serve' in any capacity,
whether it is in one of the military branches, a career in
law enforcement, or some other avenue," he said. "My wife
and I feel it's important to mentor our children about the
importance of commitment to service and duty with the hope
they will pass this value on to their children."
AFOTEC senior NCO is very proud of his family's heritage of
service and the legacy it continues to create. It is a
heritage with its roots in a basic question once posed by
Dr. Martin Luther King who said, "Life's most urgent
question is: What are you doing for others?" Sergeant Wilson
and his family answers this question by making service a
part of their identity.
By Katherine C. Gandara
Air Force Operational Test and
Evaluation Center Chief of Public Affairs
Air Force News Service
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