AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES --
A deployed Seymour Johnson Air Force Reserve Citizen Airman’s motivations are crystal clear: set a positive example for his children, and with six kids that’s a lot of motivation.
Over the last 12- years, as the children slept, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chip Perkins, 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, studied and wrote papers at night. That effort and sacrifice culminated this past year when he earned doctoral degree in Business Management. On the journey to that doctoral degree, the 36-year-old picked up a bachelor’s and master’s degree - all from Colorado Technical University.
“I really pursued my education for my kids. I want to be someone they can look up to,” said Perkins, who currently serves as a flight sergeant. “The fact that I got a doctoral degree is something they can feel they are capable of as well.”
Perkins joined the Air Force at the age of 21, after nearly ten years on active duty, still wanted to serve and joined the Reserve in 2017.
“The military has definitely changed me for the better,” said Perkins. “Where I grew up most individuals that are African-American are either in one or two places: they are either doing time in jail or on drugs.”
Perkins credits the start to higher education to his mentor, Chief Master Sgt. Steven Thomas (ret.), who ‘strongly encouraged’ him to take his first college class.
Perkins said that a successful squadron and a successful business have many similarities and that his education has been a tremendous help in building team chemistry. Leadership at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing has noticed his impact as well.
“It’s been awesome having Chip as a part of the 380th during this deployment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Alvin Dyer, 380th AEW command chief. “He serves as a great role model through his dedication to his family, education and the Air Force.”
Perkins says he’s grateful for the support from his wife and family.
“This deployment has had its challenges,” said Perkins, who’s stayed busy here training for and completing the Dubai Marathon. “I was able to get home to see my newborn daughter for the first time but, to be honest, leaving her was way more difficult than I imagined. We were all incredibly grateful to share that time together.”
The future is bright for Perkins, who upon his return home hopes to advance with his civilian employer UPS, or become a teacher.
“We will see what the future holds,” said Perkins, who plans on retiring from the Air Force Reserve. “You really shouldn’t limit yourself. You never know what you are capable of.”
-The mention of any business or university does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Air Force.