Commitments to live by

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Louis Vega
  • Pacific Air Forces

Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do are commitments each Airman makes when joining the U.S. Air Force. Holding true to these commitments can sometimes mean sacrificing some of the most precious moments in life fulfilling duties for country. For one security forces Airman this rang true.

Tech. Sgt. Starlight Wilkerson, 307th Security Forces Squadron fire team leader, from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in support of a Bomber Task Force rotation. Wilkerson was notified she would be added to the deployment a week prior to leaving and quickly realized she would miss her eldest son’s high school graduation on May 21, 2021. 

“I was a last minute replacement,” said Wilkerson. “I am full-time Active Guard Reserve so it made sense for me to be added to the deployment to remedy the situation as quickly and easily as possible.”

Wilkerson’s commitment to duty during deployments, remote tours, temporary duty assignments, and now for U.S. Strategic Command BTF missions in the Indo-Pacific region is nothing new for her or her family. 

“I was disappointed at first, of course,” said Jordan Exnicious, son of Wilkerson. “My high school graduation is a big day but I understand why she deployed. It’s vital that she is where she is and is playing a role in making sure security is good. The people there are in good hands and I accept that.”

Jordan’s parents both served in the military throughout Jordan’s life which has given him insight that he didn’t expect.

“Being a military child has taught me that life isn’t always about yourself but about others,” said Jordan. “I just push through and lean on family to get me through it.”

Although Wilkerson will miss her son’s high school graduation, she will be home in time for another life changing moment in his life.

“My son will be shipping out for Basic Military Training on June 29,” said Wilkerson. “I am very proud that he will be following in our footsteps.”

Jordan explained that he joined the Air Force to carry on the family tradition and serve his country.
“I believe my parents prepared me for the military and life in general,” said Jordan. “I am proud to be the next generation of young adults to enlist and serve my country. I am so thankful for all my mother has done for me and raising me into who I am today.”

Wilkerson had some advice for her son as he prepares for life in the Air Force.

“I live by three rules,” said Wilkerson. “Know your job, do your job, and be professional. That’s something I teach my own troops and have already instilled that into my own kids. It’s worked great for my career.”

BTF deployments and operations enhance the readiness and training necessary to respond to any contingency or challenge across the globe. Evaluating readiness and forward positioning bombers ensures the Department of Defense can maintain operational and support capabilities to meet U.S. security obligations.