Reserve officer reaches large goals in little time

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jake Chappelle
  • 446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
You might think whoever came up with the saying, "records are made to be broken," was referring to 1st. Lt. Francisco Vidal III.

Shattering his basic training squadron's fitness record in 2011 was just a warm up for the 33-year-old Citizen Airman. Less than two years after raising his right hand and reciting the oath of enlistment, the former senior airman found himself in the same place- except this time, he was delivering the oath of office.

"My original goal was to enter the Reserve as an officer, but the recruiter told me there weren't any slots," said Vidal, a Kent, Wash. resident. "But I was fine joining as an enlisted Airman. I just wanted to join in some capacity."

Vidal submitted his officer package upon arrival here from technical school in January 2012. Earning a Master's of Business Administration, and entering the Medical Service Corps allowed him to receive a direct commission and skip second lieutenant. And within a two-week period, he achieved three personal triumphs.

"When I came back from tech school, I was also about education," Vidal said. "I heard about the (Community College of the Air Force) and I was like, 'what do I have to do to get that?' I received my CCAF. The week after that, I gave my oath of office. And the next week, I got my appointment letter stating I was an official Air Force officer. It started the year off pretty good."

Judging by Vidal's 10-minute, 23-second mile-and-a-half run time on his most recent fitness assessment, grass doesn't grow beneath his feet. This can be a good feature to have considering the role he took- as an MSC officer with the 446th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron here.

"It's one of the best squadrons we have," Vidal said. "They're always on the move and I like to be on the move. I like taking care of a lot of things and staying busy."

Vidal's recent accomplishments have already given his new unit's leadership a positive image.

"My first impression of Vidal was one of enthusiasm," said Col. Jan Moore-Harbert, 446th AES commander. "He is extremely motivated, and I hope he doesn't lose all of his momentum. He will have a lot to do with the operations tempo in my squadron, and the AE mission."

"He seems eager and easy going, so he will be a good fit for our unit in moving forward," said Maj. Peter Jorgensen, 446th AES Health Services administrator. "He has an administrative background, which should be very helpful with any section he gets assigned to. The times he has helped me at customer service, he was very outgoing and helpful. Both are desired qualities for our MSCs. He is local, which will also be valuable in that we have requirements, both administrative and operational, that require more of a commitment than one weekend a month."

Vidal welcomes the tall order with open arms, as he plans on beefing up his resume with military and MSC experience, in order to land a career as an administrator at a local hospital- and his experience began with his brief stint as an enlisted Airman.

"If I did it all over again, I would have chosen the same route," Vidal said. "Basic training was really intense. It was great! I thought it was good for me to understand how the military operates."

Training alongside Airmen, who he would eventually end up leading, gave him a first-person and tactical view of what their needs are.

"If any enlisted member comes to me for help, I can understand what they're going through, and how things will need to be done- especially now that I have a bigger role and more responsibilities," he said.

Although Vidal wasn't the first person in his family to join the U.S. military, he continues to raise the bar.

"I get to carry on the family legacy," he said. "My grandfather was in the Army Corps of Engineers, but I'm the first person in the family to become an officer."

These feats turned him into an "in-house" Air Force Reserve recruiter for his family.

"I inspired some of my cousins to join the military as flight nurses," Vidal said. "They were asking me how I joined the Reserve and what kind of paperwork I had to finish and everything else."

Moore-Harbert reiterates that once he's trained up, he'll be a perfect fit for the squadron.

"He has his schools, and of course all of the mission-readiness items, but he has now become part of a very special team and a member of the best of the best AES," she said. "I look forward to seeing him grow as both an operations officer and health services administrator."