Yokota NCO gets selected for OTS
9/27/2012 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- A Yokota maintainer's passion and commitment to aviation and education recently became a dream come true.
Staff Sgt. Galen Apo, 374th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, was selected to attend Officer Training School out of 507 applications throughout the U.S.
Apo's drive for becoming an officer in the Air Force started when he enlisted in 2005 as an aircraft structural maintainer. He completed his bachelor's degree in professional aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in January 2011.
"I've always wanted to fly since I was a kid," said Apo. "I enlisted knowing that even if I couldn't fly, I could at least work on aircraft to know the ins and outs then apply to become an officer later."
He began building his package right after technical training school, putting forth his best effort at everything from formal training, self-improvements and volunteering with local communities.
"I wanted to become that model Airman that our leaders always talk about," said Apo. "Not just earning my degree, giving 100 percent of my effort all the time."
The road for this maintainer hasn't been an easy one; managing work, family, school and flight lessons through Yokota's Aero Club program have all been challenges he's overcome by staying motivated and disciplined. Reminding himself of the end product kept him striving to never give up.
"Getting selected gave me the biggest sense of accomplishment," said Apo. "It's been very time-consuming and mentally demanding, but now I have this great sense of accomplishment knowing that my hard work has paid off."
Becoming an officer will also create more challenges for Apo but he is ready to step-up and take lead. Apo also stated that his experience as an aircraft maintainer will add to his leadership skills by having the knowledge of what it's like to work closely with Airmen.
"I like knowing that I'll be able to lead people and see both sides and always appreciate the enlisted core," he said.
On top of getting selected for OTS, Apo has also met all the requirements for obtaining his private pilot's license. The Kula, Maui, Hawaii native has completed a total of 47 flight hours, 12 of those being solo flight hours, and is currently waiting to take his final exam from a certified Federal Aviation Administration examiner.
"I'm excited to see what's in store for me," said Apo. "I'm ready to take on my new responsibilities as an officer."
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