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Troubled Airman evolves, becomes Hurlburt ALS commandant

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeff Andrejcik
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
There is no discernible reason to believe an airman leadership school commandant could have ever encountered trouble in their career ... or is there?

Master Sgt. Jennifer Griffiths, Hurlburt Field ALS commandant, said she was involved in a spat that no one, even herself, could have ever imagined happening.

As a senior airman, she said she was working in front of a scorching hot grill flipping burgers on a 12-hour shift. Her sweat slowly started to seep into her uniform creating a sticky and unpleasant environment. On top of the mounting stress, her supervisor was harassing her every chance she got.

Griffiths said she pressed her spatula against the searing grill. Already pushed to the edge and her frustration building, one more prod would make her snap.

Then it came, a final jab.

Griffiths said she swung that blazing spatula at her supervisor's face... BOOM!

Immediately, Griffiths said she found herself in a surreal moment.

"I felt instant regret," she said as she reflected on the incident. "I couldn't believe I just did that. My whole life is over from that one mistake and I'll never be able to recover."

She had a choice, either fall into a mindset of defiance or take the necessary steps to get her career back on track. She chose the latter.

"If you do make a mistake, treat it as a mistake, don't dwell on it and hold grudges," Griffiths said. "Don't let people tell you you're a bad person because of one choice that you made. We all make choices and you can make a [bad] choice, but you can always turn around and make a better choice."

Not only was she determined to salvage her career, but she wanted to evolve into a better Airman. So, she asked for help. This ultimately turned her career around.

Griffiths said she advises Airmen to seek out mentors and help in difficult situations.

"I took the anger management class at the airman and family readiness center and went to a chaplain," she said. "I've been to mental health and had counseling and I'm proud of it.

"The beauty of time is that you can always choose to make different choices, push forward, and change who you are," she continued.

The once troubled Airman now speaks with charisma and confidence, according to Tech. Sgt. Maria Voisin, 1st Special Operations Force Support Squadron dining facility manager.

"I enjoyed working for her 100 percent," Voisin said. "She's assertive, by the book, and also compassionate."

Now, Griffiths proudly displays that infamous spatula in her office.

It serves as a constant reminder of where she started, and just how far she has come.