by Airman 1st Class Desiree Economides
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
5/22/2013 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, JAPAN -- When
Senior Airman Victoria Rodriguez, 374th Civil Engineer Squadron
administration specialist, joined the military, she had no idea what the
future would hold.
The Army brat, who calls Fort Hood, Texas, home, has been selected as
one of 50 Airmen to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School
through the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program.
Rodriguez first learned about the LEAD program while stationed at Luke
Air Force Base, Arizona. At the time, the process turned her off of
wanting to apply; however, once she moved to Yokota, she reconsidered
submitting an application and found mentors who encouraged her to apply.
"She strongly exhibits all the core values, she has a great positive
attitude, she is well spoken and all around she's sharp," said Lt. Col.
Christoff Gaub, 374 CES commander. "She was a great enlisted troop and
she'll be a great officer leading enlisted in the future."
In addition to her leadership, Rodriguez received mentorship and advice
from individuals who have gone through the LEAD program and the Air
"We met in a kickboxing class and later on I found out she was applying
for LEAD," said Capt. Corina Glover, 374th Medical Surgical Squadron
physician's assistant. "The program is very physically challenging and
that was an area she wanted to improve, so I helped."
For those looking at applying to the LEAD program, Rodriguez shares her thoughts.
"Don't let anything stop you," Rodriguez said. "The paperwork is
tremendous, but sit down and get through it a little at a time. It'll be
worth it in the end."
The Air Force offers a number of programs for those interested in
commissioning. Information about the programs can be found at the
installation education office and also on the Air Force Portal.