Lab tech to commission Blue to Green
By Staff Sgt. Heather Stanton, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 11, 2010
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- A medical laboratory technician from the 4th Medical Group is about to trade in her Air Force blues for Army greens and receive her commission through the Blue-to-Green program.
Tech. Sgt. Jacqueline Just hails from Charleston, S.C., and enlisted in the Air Force in July 1997 alongside her fraternal twin sister, now Capt. Janelle Quinn. The sisters have shared many duty stations around the world, to include here at Seymour Johnson.
The sisters always planned on becoming officers. After Quinn received her commission through the Air Force, Just became more motivated to finish her master's degree and do the same.
Just learned about her selection Jan. 26, her three-year anniversary on station at Seymour Johnson.
"My recruiter e-mailed me to call him," Just said. "I called and he told me I had been selected. Because I had a class date for the NCO (noncommissioned officer) Academy, he wanted to notify me before the Army (officially) did to stop the process."
Just began her college education after joining the Air Force. She earned her Community College of the Air Force degree as a medical lab technician, then continued to pursue a bachelor's degree in healthcare from Southern Illinois University and recently completed her master's degree in human resource management from Troy University. Between her career, deployments and multiple permanent changes of station, Just was able to finish the last two degrees within eight years because she entered accelerated bachelor's and master's programs.
Once finished with her master's degree, Just knew it was time to pursue her dream to become an officer. Unfortunately, she was unable to commission into the Air Force Medical Services Corps because she had more than 10 years of enlisted service. However, the Army Medical Services Corps accepts applicants with up to 16 years of service.
"I had to try different avenues," Just said. "This door opened for me and I jumped at it. This way was the harder way, everyone has been asking 'Why Army?' Sure, this is the more unconventional way, but I have to go with what opens doors for me and that is what it boils down to."
Master Sgt. Talisha Virges, 4th Medical Support Squadron, believes Just will excel in her future Army endeavors.
"I am so happy for her," Virges said. "She found that this was something she wanted to do and went after it. This is definitely the Army's gain. Just is a natural leader, always setting and enforcing standards. She is a remarkable NCO and will be a remarkable officer."
Just will be commissioned three days before attending the Army's Basic Officer Leadership Course at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, though she doesn't know when her class begins. Once she completes the two-month BOLC, she will attend a two-week course to learn more about her specific job as a 70-Bravo healthcare administrator.
"The mission is a little different from the Air Force, so there will be some teach-and-go," Just said. "I could work in medical logistics, readiness, accounting or patient administration, depending on the needs of the Army. I may be attached to a battalion or brigade and be their medical services corps officer, but I will be a Soldier first."
Just believes her Air Force experience is important in her accomplishment and will take it with her in the Army.
"My Air Force experience has been vital because (it is where) I received a lot of my education and training," she said. "Without my education I would not have been able to be so competitive at the Army level. I had awesome supervisors who pushed me to go to school when I could and I can see the fruits of my labor because here, now, I am (going to be) a commissioned officer."
Though Just has some fear when thinking of her future, she is very excited of what is to come.
"I am very scared because I know the Air Force approaches situations differently and I will have to get accustomed to the Army way of life," she said. "I am afraid, but I know I will have great mentors. It is a new challenge and I am ready for it."