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    Black History Month: 180FW Airman creates her own trail

    Black History Month: 180FW Airman creates her own trail

    Photo By Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker | U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Taleiya Jackson, a Flight Services Center Representative...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker 

    180th Fighter Wing Ohio National Guard

    “Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail.” –Ruby Bridges
    This powerful mantra is one Staff Sgt. Taleiya Jackson lives by and attributes her success to.

    As an African American woman, serving with the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing as a Flight Services Center Representative with the Logistics Readiness Squadron, Jackson works hard to be the best she can be and shatter stereotypes often associated with the color of her skin.

    “As a child, I was the only African American, or one of the only few African Americans, involved in various activities such as clubs and sports,” said Jackson. “It wasn’t until I got older that I realized, and could even describe, the feeling of always having to work harder and put more effort into everything I do. Being African American, and a female, can be challenging. Often times it’s easy for people to overlook you due to stereotypes and simply the way world has been conditioned to view people who look like me.”

    With dreams of reaching her full potential, while defying the many societal norms often surrounding her race, Jackson took advantage of the 100% paid college tuition benefits offered by the Air National Guard, enlisting in the 180th Fighter Wing in 2015, and began pursuing her degree in recreational therapy at the University of Toledo, graduating in 2019.

    “I always had an interest in serving,” said Jackson, “but learning that the ANG could help me go to college, with the tuition benefits, was the deciding factor.”

    Her decision to serve in the ANG not only allowed Jackson to earn her degree, but also provided her with the confidence to work toward her dream job as a recreational therapist at a local behavioral health hospital, while also continuing to serve her country.

    As a Flight Services Center Representative, Jackson is responsible for providing customer service and assisting Airmen with the ordering and turn-in of equipment and supplies needed to execute the flying mission.

    “Day-to-day operations are important, but it’s the problem solving aspect that I like the most,” said Jackson. “Without the proper equipment and supplies, our maintenance personnel can’t maintain the jets properly, which can result in the pilots’ inability to fly them safely. So when I can assist with a discrepancy or use my skills to help my fellow Airmen, it makes me happy.”

    As Jackson continues to create her own unique trail in life, she leans on her role models, pulling her motivation from the examples they set, along with their hard work and dedication.

    “Lt. Marisa Shipman, who has now commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army, was my first military role model,” said Jackson. “She always worked hard and accomplished so many things, all while having a family. I admire her assertiveness and confidence in her value system.”

    “Tech. Sgt. Gabreale Turner, who serves fulltime at the 180th Fighter Wing, is someone I can be myself around,” explained Jackson. “I can discuss personal matters with her, receive work advice and bounce ideas around with. She and I share characteristics that are scarce in the military, and to be able to watch someone who looks like me work so hard and accomplish so much is motivation all in itself.”

    Military service is more than just a short-term commitment for Jackson who says she plans to make a career out of serving with the 180th Fighter Wing, aiming for a 20 year retirement, while at the same time working to fulfill her dreams of becoming a fulltime entrepreneur as a private recreational therapist.

    “There is enough room, and so many opportunities for success in this world, for everyone to be great, regardless of their race or background,” said Jackson. “Go for it and be the best at it because there is somebody, somewhere who is going to need your story as their motivation.”



    Date Taken: 02.24.2022
    Date Posted: 02.24.2022 14:04
    Story ID: 415237
    Location: SWANTON, OH, US 

    Web Views: 261
    Downloads: 0