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Air Commando overcomes hardship, earns EO of the Year

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Joseph LeVeille
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Dedication. Motivation. Hard work.

Not only are these very important qualities in any walk of life, but these qualities were specifically embodied by an equal opportunity Air Commando with the 1st Special Operations Wing.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. William Spight, the NCO in charge of EO with the 1st SOW, received the Air Force EO of the Year award for his outstanding performance in 2019 within the EO community.

The goal of EO is to promote a positive human relations environment free from personal, social or institutional barriers that could prevent Air Force members from rising to their highest potential. By doing so, the 1st SOW’s ability to accomplish operations any time, any place, remains unhindered.

“I was just shocked and I didn’t know how to handle it,” said Spight. “I’m so used to fighting through adversity and things being difficult that I didn’t know how to react when I got the award.”

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Courtney Del Monte, the EO director for the 1st SOW, noticed Spight’s hard work and wanted to give him full recognition for his dedication to his craft and Air Commandos.

“Spight captures all the facets of what it means to be an EO counselor and genuinely cares about each person that comes in,” said Del Monte. “I’m super proud of him. He makes it easy to put him in for things like EO of the Year because he puts all the work in.”

The values of hard work and responsibility were instilled in Spight at an early age. These values honed over his 32 years helped him earn the distinguished title, EO of the Year.

“Growing up I had a single parent, and I was the oldest child,” Spight said. “I had a lot of responsibility placed on my shoulders at an early age, and I’ve been told by others that it led to an early maturation phase for me.”

Before Spight was even born, his father didn’t care to be a part of his life; his father abused not only drugs but also his family. This led to his mother packing up and leaving Georgia to seek out a better living environment with Spight, age six at the time, and his younger brother Mikel, age two, for Montgomery, Alabama.

“My mom had to pick up multiple jobs to make sure we could survive,” Spight said. “I was seven at this time and my brother was three. Sometimes for weeks on end, I would be watching my brother by myself, and I had to learn how to feed him by whatever means necessary which included things like picking up change off the ground.”

In spite of the difficulties that Spight dealt with at such an early age, he never quit. His dedication and perseverance earned him the ability to play college football with the University of Southern Mississippi, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sports management and public relations. He then went on to marry his childhood sweetheart, also taking the lessons learned from his absent father and becoming a father of two boys, and joined the U.S. Air Force.

“I enlisted as open administration, and I went to my first base, MacDill Air Force Base, and worked as a personal property specialist in the traffic management office,” said the former wide receiver. “After a little while, I went to cargo and got a couple deployments under my belt, but it finally came to a point where I was thinking about retraining. That’s when EO really got on my radar.”

In his fifth year of service, August 2018, Spight retrained into EO and arrived to his second duty station, Hurlburt Field.

“I love people,” Spight said. “Even before joining the military, I understood that without people, nothing is going to work, and that’s what sparked my interest in EO.”
Spight’s passion for helping others is shown everyday on the job by how he treats the people around him.

“I am finally doing my passion and have found my niche,” Spight said.