An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsroomNewsArticle Display

Article - Article View

Being the best he can be

Tech. Sgt. Alex Elliott, Forrest L. Vosler Noncommissioned Officer Academy flight instructor, and his team of instructors graduate more than 90 NCOs at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 20, 2016. Elliott was recognized as the NCO of the Quarter for both Team Pete and Air University during the first quarter of 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman)

Tech. Sgt. Alex Elliott, Forrest L. Vosler Noncommissioned Officer Academy flight instructor, and his team of instructors graduate more than 90 NCOs at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 20, 2016. Elliott was recognized as the NCO of the Quarter for both Team Pete and Air University during the first quarter of 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman)

Tech. Sgt. Alex Elliott, Forrest L. Vosler Noncommissioned Officer Academy flight instructor, coordinates lesson plans with another flight instructor at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 20, 2016. In the past few months he completed a master’s degree in criminal justice, was selected for promotion to master sergeant and picked up for Officer Training School. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman)

Tech. Sgt. Alex Elliott, Forrest L. Vosler Noncommissioned Officer Academy flight instructor, coordinates lesson plans with another flight instructor at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 20, 2016. In the past few months he completed a master’s degree in criminal justice, was selected for promotion to master sergeant and picked up for Officer Training School. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman)

Tech. Sgt. Alex Elliott, Forrest L. Vosler Noncommissioned Officer Academy flight instructor, educates NCOs at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 20, 2016. Elliott came into his current position in November 2014 through the Developmental Special Duty selection process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman)

Tech. Sgt. Alex Elliott, Forrest L. Vosler Noncommissioned Officer Academy flight instructor, educates NCOs at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., July 20, 2016. Elliott came into his current position in November 2014 through the Developmental Special Duty selection process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Dennis Hoffman)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Tech. Sgt. Alex Elliott, Forrest L. Vosler Noncommissioned Officer Academy flight instructor, joined the Air Force about a dozen years ago because it presented him with opportunity.

And opportunity keeps knocking, while Elliott keeps answering. In the past few months he completed a master’s degree in criminal justice, was selected for promotion to master sergeant and picked up for Officer Training School.

“A lot of things are going well for me recently,” Elliott said.

After high school, Elliott prepared to attend Valdosta State University in his home state of Georgia. But when he thought about his college career, it didn’t seem to present the kind of opportunity he hoped for.

“I didn’t want to party out of college,” he said. “I thought I would go into the military and get my schooling that way.”

He visited a recruiter. Liked what he heard and before long, Elliott was into his first Air Force job, working the first of his many flightline jobs. He started out working on HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters with special operations teams, keeping their equipment operating up to their rigid standards.

After a short stint with Wing Staff Agency at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, Elliott began his current position in November 2014 through the Developmental Special Duty selection process.

“As much as I love helicopters, it’s fast paced,” said Elliott, “This lets me regroup with my family. I love this job.”

Elliott is a firm believer in the opportunities provided by the DSD process.

“I tell my students to embrace the DSD process if it ever comes their way,” he said.

Elliott said he finds leadership principles he learned at the various points in his career are universal. They can be applied to any situation. Whether it was his time as an expediter or when he was deployed, Elliott said he can build upon previous experiences and use them where he is today.

“The same things come into play here,” Elliott said. “I am able to bring those types of (real life) experience back to the job, so (students) hear stories that tie into the leadership principles.”

Building upon each step in his Air Force career, and taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, has led to recognition. Elliott was recognized as both the Team Pete and Air University NCO for the first quarter of 2016. He recently received the Lance P. Sijan Leadership Award for the Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education, which directs the NCOA. The Sijan award recognizes individuals demonstrating the highest levels of leadership in their jobs and lives. His award package will now be submitted to the next level of competition.

Elliott’s current leadership embraced the importance of awards and the impact they have on a career. Since he adopted that mindset about the relationship between recognition and career progression, Elliott has been flying right in the middle of his leadership’s radar.

“Becoming a master sergeant and getting my master’s degree have always been my goals,” said Elliott. “I finally just stopped letting life get in the way.”

Commitment is a major key to gaining recognition and awards, he said. Coming to work early, staying late and keeping a positive attitude through it all are things that get recognized. Quality of work is something that should be taken seriously, too.

“If you put something out there, it should be done to the best of your ability,” said Elliott. “That’s how I’ve always done things.”

He said being an officer will allow him to continue challenging himself to excel. Elliott wanted to become an officer for a couple of reasons, both related to self-improvement.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to challenge myself as a better leader,” said Elliott. “I have always seen leaders make decisions. By becoming a lieutenant and future officer in charge of a unit, I will be that decision maker. I hope to reflect on all my experience over the last 12 years to guide Airmen more efficiently and effectively.”


The other reason Elliott wanted to put his hat in the ring for OTS was to provide more for his wife and children. Once again, when an opportunity comes along, he was prepared to at least enter the doorway.

“I’ve always had the mindset of becoming the best version of myself and to be an example to my kids,” said Elliott. “If I had not at least applied, I would have left the Air Force at retirement having sold myself short. I wanted to be able to walk away with no regrets, knowing I had done all I could.”

The many skills Elliott learned during his Air Force career have served him well. He knows helicopters, he knows public speaking, and he knows leadership. He counts those things among the more important skills he’s developed in his career, but there is one that rises above the rest.

“The best thing that I have taken from the Air Force is learning to read and understand people,” Elliott said. “The people and the interactions you have with them are what makes this entire Air Force experience amazing.”

For now, Elliott is waiting for his OTS selection date. Until it comes, he is keeping an eye out for opportunities to continue being the best Airman possible.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui