SrA Richardson: Striving for Success

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Anabel Del Valle
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Every Airman in the force has a duty to support the United States’ ability to rapidly project lethal combat airpower when necessary. However, what personally drives each individual Airman to excel in their career field may vary over the years.

Senior Airman Cameron Richardson, 337th Air Control Squadron weapons technician, who enlisted in the Air Force two months after graduating high school in 2019, is no stranger to meeting high expectations. During high school, he was active in Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, a federal program intended to familiarize young adults with the military. He recalled an award ceremony that he invited his mother to attend, not knowing it would end up changing his life.

“I didn’t win a single award, not even the basic ones that were given out,” Richardson remembered. “My mom looked me in the eye afterwards and said, ‘Don’t invite me to anything else where you receive nothing,’ So, I told myself that day I was going to put my best foot forward from then on.”

When he made the decision to enlist in the Air Force, he decided to give it his all. Since then, he has made a list of accomplishments such as basic training honor graduate, technical training distinguished graduate and has received coins from several Air Force leaders including Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Joanne S. Bass. His most recent accomplishment is being selected to promote to the rank of staff sergeant, scoring the highest in his career field on his first time testing. Richardson says he feels ready for the supervisory position despite being enlisted for what he considers a short three years.

“It is a bit crazy to think I could be put in charge of troops who may have a lot more life experience than me,” said Richardson. “But I have to remain confident that I have the Air Force knowledge necessary to lead them to success in this particular sector. They can offer me knowledge on their individual experience and I’ll learn from them. It is an exchange of information on both ends.”

Richardson knows just how important it is to have strong leaders in an Airman’s career as he is leaning on his own leadership to help him navigate being the new father of an 8-week-old baby boy.

“In the Air Force, we talk a lot about the importance of a work-life balance,” explained Richardson. “Communication is a huge part in that balance. At first, I was scared to tell my leadership I wanted time off for baby appointments. I was assuming it would look bad on me but I was completely wrong.”
Richardson says the understanding leadership style given to him was critical for his well-being during one of the scariest and most exciting times of his life. Not only was he permitted to attend his partner’s doctor visits, but once he returned from paternity leave, he was able to take a long lunch every now and then just to go home and check on his family.

“Coming back to work was hard,” said Richardson. “[My unit] made sure to ask how they could help, even cooking us meals. Leadership is fully supporting me, and my partner is fully supporting me, and that motivates me even more to keep going and not let them down.”

At work, Richardson is typically in charge of helping secure the airspace between Eglin Air Force Base and Tyndall in support of F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II training missions, but his work doesn’t end there. Richardson is determined to do his best at work and at home, striving to be someone his son can look up to.

“I want to set the example for my son,” Richardson concluded. “I want to have something to show for him.”