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    From homelessness to honorable service: U.S. Air Force Reserve Airman supports Beyond the Horizon 2019 after humble beginnings, defying odds

    U.S. Air Force Reserve Services Airman Overcomes Circumstances

    Photo By Spc. Vincent Wilson | Spc. Michael Deleon, with the 11th Field Support Company and Airforce Staff Sgt. Royal...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Story by SPC Vincent Wilson, 319th MPAD

    HUEHUETENANGO, Guatemala – Years ago he never would have imagined sitting in Central America supporting U.S. Forces for exercise Beyond the Horizon 2019 at the 5th Infantry Brigade in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

    Air Force Staff Sgt. Royal Rowlett, 33, a services specialist assigned to the 916th Force Support Squadron, out of Goldsboro, North Carolina, has come a long way from his humble beginnings. Rowlett an Apex, North Carolina, resident is the product of a somewhat difficult childhood.

    Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Rowlett is the oldest of four brothers in a single parent home. It was because of these circumstances Rowlett said that he moved to Florida to live with his godparents. Two years later, Rowlett moved back in with his mother with the intent of helping her support his family.

    “After a while things got bad”, said Rowlett “We were Homeless for about a year moving from homeless shelter to homeless shelter or having to staying with relatives.”

    It’s that experience that Rowlett says gave him the tenacious work ethic he has.

    “He’s hard working, adapts to any situation and puts lower enlisted before himself,” said Sgt. Nitza Padilla, assigned to the 40th Infantry Division Headquarters Support Company.

    “As the man of the house it my job to provide for my family, that's why I work so hard,” said Rowlett.

    After graduating high school, Rowlett met his future wife, Candace, and five years later proposed.

    “I asked for her hand in marriage”, Rowlett said. “(Her father) wasn't having it though; he said the only way I could marry his daughter is if I join the military.”

    That's when Rowlett decided that he would take the big step to talked to his local Army recruiter.

    “I was just looking for any job they had, and my recruiter was a tanker so that’s what I signed up for.”

    It was during a time that Rowlett had been seeking his father, and in a twist of fate, he did meet his father through his uncle after 24 years. His father, an Army recruiter, was the person to suggest that Rowlett join the Air Force Reserves.

    “I told him I'd think about it, but about a week later an Air Force recruiter called me,” said Rowlett. “I went on base to talk to him and that's when I was introduced to services.”

    After attending basic training and technical school, Rowlett married his wife and now has three children.

    Rowlett also has three civilian jobs, and he said he credits his military experience for affording him the opportunity to get those jobs.

    “Services has so much carryover to the civilian world,” he said. “No matter what I'll always have work,” said Rowlett.

    Currently Rowlett is attached to Task Force Rise and mobilized to Huehuetenango, Guatemala. He is providing sustainment support for Beyond the Horizon 2019.

    Beyond the Horizon is an annual exercise designed to build partner nation capacity for civil and military response to major disasters and the relationships built and sustained through this exercise demonstrate the ability of the U.S., and our regional partners, to access and execute disaster relief activities throughout Central America.

    “That's why I volunteered for this mission, I'm glad we are partnering with Guatemala and improving their communities,” said Rowlett. “I know what it like to live below the poverty line, and I want to help support people in that position.”



    Date Taken: 05.16.2019
    Date Posted: 05.17.2019 17:40
    Story ID: 322889
    Location: HUEHUETENANGO, GT 
    Hometown: APEX, NC, US
    Hometown: BALTIMORE, MD, US
    Hometown: GOLDSBORO, NC, US

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