Today's Military:

Clarence Abercrombie Jr.
Avionics Journeyman

Service: Air Force     |     Status: Enlisted

“I needed to jump-start my life. The Air Force was a fresh start…”

Throughout high school, Clarence did the minimum. And while he got by, he graduated with no real college opportunities – or any idea of what he wanted to do next.

So what happened next? He found himself working at a local grocery store, bagging groceries for minimum wage. And ready for a change.

The Air Force seemed like the logical choice. Both his father and grandfather served in the Military – so beyond having their support, he had a pretty good idea of what the Military was all about. For Clarence, the Air Force offered a fresh start with the potential to excel.

“With the 100-percent college tuition-assistance program, I have been able to take some classes at a nearby college.”

Prior to enlisting, with money being extremely tight, college just wasn’t feasible. But with tuition assistance, such as the GI Bill, Clarence is able to attend a nearby college without having to worry about debt from loans.

Plus, and perhaps even more impressive, with technical training in San Antonio and Wichita Falls, Texas, Clarence already has a clear career path in avionics.

“I went from bagging groceries to having one of the most technical jobs in the enlisted career field.”

As a journeyman in avionics, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Fla., Clarence’s job is to ensure that all of the Air Force’s computer systems are interfacing correctly. In other words, if Clarence is doing his job correctly, the Air Force remains the strongest air power in the world.

It’s quite clear: Avionics is a very technical field with a lot of responsibility. So when Clarence’s military career comes to an end, he will have some highly marketable skills and be in a very good position to work for any one of the major airlines.

“My Air Force experience has shown me that I can do anything I put my mind to…”

Clarence admits the biggest change he’s experienced, since enlisting, is his maturity level. He now has direction and a sense of purpose. And with more college on the horizon and a burgeoning career, he’s just getting started. Or, as he puts it, “It just goes to show, if you want to excel in life you will excel. The choice is up to you, but you can only get out of life what you put in. I’m so proud to serve in the greatest Air Force in the world… nothing comes close!”

Clarence’s Military Career Timeline

  • May 2002: Attended Basic Military Training (BMT) at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas
  • August 2002: Attended Electronics Principles Technical Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas
  • September 2002: Attended F-15 Avionic Attack Control Systems Apprentice Technical Training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas
  • December 2002: Graduated from second technical school, becoming an F-15 Avionic Attack Control Systems apprentice ready to be sent to duty station
  • January 2003: Arrived at first duty station at Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County, Fla.
  • January 2004: Enrolled in a local college
  • May 2004: Received an early advancement to the rank of senior airman
  • January 2005: Appointed as the assistant non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the Eglin Air Force Base Honor Guard
  • March 2005: Graduated from the Air Force Honor Guard Protocol, Honors and Ceremonies Course
  • August 2005: Selected for advancement to staff sergeant

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