USAFE-AFAFRICA Airman selected for new officer program

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- A U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces in Africa imagery analyst from Ramstein Air Base, Germany was selected for the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program last month.

Senior Airman Shabree Heasell was one of only 10 chosen across the Air Force for this brand new program. Each major command commander was given the opportunity to select just one enlisted Airman from their command to attend officer training school.

Heasell has been working toward a commissioning opportunity since enlisting in 2012.

"I've wanted to be an officer for as long as I can remember, but I am so glad I enlisted first and have never regretted that decision for one second. I really want to make a difference in our nation and in people's lives," said Heasell.

Heasell said her faith as a Christian helped her stay focused.

"I started praying and looking for opportunities where I could make that difference in people's lives and also serving our country," said Heasell.

As a Canadian citizen, Heasel already applied to the Air Force when the recruiter asked if she wanted to renounce her citizenship. Because of her desire to help people and serve in the Air Force, she did.

Heasell graduated from the intelligence technical training school and, two years later, she was selected as a 2013 U.S. Air Force Outstanding Airman of the Year for her superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements.

After becoming an Outstanding Airman of the Year, Heasell was invited to the Air Force Academy Leadership Symposium where she spoke to the cadets about leadership.

"I was just so moved by the whole experience, that I knew this was what God was urging me to do with my life, so I knew that becoming an officer really was the right track for me," said Heasell.

She originally applied in 2013 for the OTS program and was denied.

"It broke my heart, but everything that happens, happens for a reason," said Heasell.

She told herself and others that she wasn't giving up. "If there is something in your heart that you want, just keep trying," she said.

So, her plan was to re-apply for the 2016 OTS program, but the opportunity to participate in the Senior Leader Enlisted Commissioning Program presented itself this year.

"I heard about the program, so I applied with high hopes. I had applied for the OTS board before, so this wasn't a quick decision. It has been years of wanting it and working toward it," she said.

Her leadership, to include Chief Master Sgt. Davis, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief, was very supportive.

"Airman Heasell's selection to become an officer in the USAF strengthens our Air Force," said Davis. "Her enlisted experience will prove to add tremendous value to her development as an officer. We are absolutely proud of her."

She departs for OTS in 2016 and with new opportunities headed her way, Heasell is excited for her future with the Air Force.

"After officer training school, I will do whatever the Air Force wants me to do, but I have every intention of spending the next thirty years as an intelligence officer and serving my country," she said.