Siblings Create Total Force Success Stories
by U.S. National Guard Spc. Haden
Framed on the wall of her brother’s office
is the most impactful car ride taken by now-Lt. Col. Alecia
Campbell, commander of the 81st Contracting Squadron, Keesler Air
Force Base, Mississippi ... in the form of a letter.
December 30, 2022 - U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Alecia Campbell, commander of the 81st Contracting Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi,
at Remington Park, Oklahoma City with her older brother U.S. Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. Alquintin
Steele, the senior enlisted leader for the 137th Special
Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, Will Rogers Air
National Guard, Oklahoma before Alecia's lieutenant colonel
promotion ceremony. (U.S. National Guard photo by Spc. Haden Tolbert)
Campbell had been recruited to play
basketball at the United States Air Force Academy. Her older
brother, now-Chief Master Sgt. Alquintin Steele, the senior enlisted
leader for the 137th Special Operations Logistics Readiness
Squadron, 137th Special Operations Wing, Oklahoma National Guard,
drove her to the airport for her flight to Colorado Springs.
On that drive, Steele began a career-long cycle of encouragement and
support that both would foster throughout the years. His
encouragement that day motivated her to push through any second
thoughts about her time at USAFA.
A few years
later, Steele received a letter from his sister about that drive.
“We don’t really get sentimental with each other, but I thought
it would be important to share with him how much he meant to me,”
Campbell shared. “I didn’t want him to go without knowing how much
impact he had on my life through that time.”
Steele both have achieved remarkable ranks in their careers;
however, it is just as remarkable to note the strength of the family
bond that has gotten them there and their ability to support each
other, despite not seeing or talking to each other every day.
Growing up, they were surrounded by a very tight-knit community
of family, close friends, coaches and their church congregation who
supported their goals, but most importantly they have always looked
towards each other for guidance and support.
“I always knew I
had somebody looking up to me, so I wanted to make the right
decisions to show her another good role model outside of our
father,” Steele said.
“I knew he wouldn’t steer me in the
wrong direction,” Campbell added. “Anything I need I know I can call
him, and he will be right there.”
The siblings grew up
attending a predominantly African American school on the east side
of Oklahoma City, so Campbell had to adjust to a change in
demographics when she arrived at USAFA.
“It was a bit of a
culture shock to go from that to the Air Force Academy, where you
are the minority,” Campbell explained.
USAFA students were an
average 17% female and less than 6% African American in the
mid-2000s when Campbell attended, according to a study by the RAND
National Defense Research Institute.
“I’m appreciative of,
number one, the military, but I’m appreciative of that time at the
academy because it broadens your horizons,” Campbell addresses the
disparity. “It is always good to be able to get an alternate
perspective versus your own.”
Steele was very proud of
Campbell for graduating from USAFA and commented on the slight
sibling rivalry that came with it.
“Even at her coining
ceremony when she first graduated as a second lieutenant and gave me
her first coin, it was like ‘You are still my little sister, and I
outrank you no matter what,’” Steele recalled.
was in college, he knew he needed a way to provide for his family
and made the decision to join the Air National Guard, enlisting in
the 137th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron at Will
Rogers Air National Guard Base in 1998.
Although Steele was
interested in the educational and insurance resources provided,
those were not his main deciding factors.
“It allowed me a
chance to go see the world as well as come home every time we were
done and still be around my family,” Steele stated. “That was the
main reason I joined the Guard.”
When he joined, Steele was a
minority member in his military community, but has recognized a
change over the years in minority representation.
we’ve grown and our eyes become more open to accept all things,”
said Steele. “I think that now that we have certain people in
certain positions they can start representation across the board. It
makes it easier for people to believe they can actually get to those
In December 2022, Campbell was promoted to
lieutenant colonel and decided to come back to Oklahoma for the
ceremony. She wanted her family, friends and mentors to be there to
celebrate her accomplishment.
“It was a time for me to show
my appreciation to every person that has impacted my life in
Oklahoma,” Campbell emphasized. “That was an opportunity for me to
say I would not be who I am today without each of those individuals
who were there.”
Steele was happy that his sister decided to
have her promotion ceremony in Oklahoma, but would have attended no
matter where it was held.
“Our unspoken promise we made to
each other a long time ago was that we will always be there for each
other’s promotion ceremonies when it is something big,” Steele
voiced. “No matter where she was in the world, I would have been
there for her to get lieutenant colonel.”
Campbell and Steele
both set an example of leadership, not just to the people in their
lives, but for all aspiring leaders by advocating for the Airman
around them and proving that reaching your goals is possible.
“You can be African American or a minority and still make it to
chief, or you can be female and make it to the rank of lieutenant
colonel or beyond, like our 137th SOW vice commander Col. [Shelby]
Dryer,” Steele expanded. “So now that I've accomplished all my
goals, I need to accomplish more goals of being a better father,
brother, husband and son to everybody that made the sacrifice for me
to achieve where I am right now in my career.”
both siblings’ careers, their tale shows how valuable strong family
bonds can be to one’s success. Campbell’s letter is proudly placed
on Steele’s office wall to serve as a daily reminder of how far they
both have progressed in their careers and as a symbol of the
unwavering support they will give each other in the years to come.
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