A “wow” moment of disbelief became a reality for one Alcorn State alumnus.
LaDarrion Holloway has been promoted to Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force (USAF).
When he heard the news of his forthcoming promotion, he was caught by surprise.
“All I could say was “WOW” when I found out about it,” said Holloway. “I originally didn’t really tell anyone because I wanted to make sure it was real — granted, I knew it was.”
Holloway’s promotion is a testament to his leadership skills, commitment to excellence, and contributions to the defense of our nation.
“It feels amazing,” said Holloway. “A surreal moment. It is not something I take lightly. The promotion to MSgt Sergeant is one of the most significant promotions within the enlisted structure of the Air Force, one that comes with a lot of added responsibilities and trust.”
Holloway, a native of Jackson, Miss., graduated from Alcorn in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies, with concentrations in management and health science.
His time at Alcorn State provided a solid foundation for his career, instilling in him the values of hard work, family, and community, which have been instrumental in his achievements.
“You can go anywhere and do anything from Alcorn,” he said. “Alcorn is a conduit for excellence. It is where work ethic, family, and community values are reinforced. Every day was not “flowery beds of ease,” but everything I was learning and experiencing at Alcorn was all breadcrumbs to where I am now. Alcorn provided me with professors and instructors with real work experience, and they spoke from real-world experience, the things that enhance the textbook curriculum.”
“I don’t know if I’d be on such a successful track if it weren’t for the quality, affordable, and accessible college education and experience that is Alcorn State University,” he continued.
Holloway is an aviation resource manager at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
“As the Superintendent of Aviation Operations, I lead a section of nine Total Force Airmen across 4 Air Force Specialty Codes and oversee eight courses.
I’m also an Aviation Resource Management certified academic instructor, implementing lesson plans and career-field strategic training modernization initiatives to prepare students for war and peacetime operations in the 423d Training Squadron of the Expeditionary Operations School, Expeditionary Center – which is one of the Community Colleges of the Air Force’s 113 affiliated campuses, providing advanced courses to over 30,000 students annually.”
Achieving his most recent rank was not an easy achievement.
“Master sergeant is not an easy rank to make,” he said. The USAF had 27,296 members eligible for master sergeant, and they chose 4,040, less than 15%. This is the lowest selection rate since 2010. Yet I was selected in my first cycle of eligibility for promotion.”
A servicemember with over 11 years in the Air Force, Holloway committed to going above and beyond in his work.
“I believe this moment is the fruit of the impact that I was able to make at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga.,” said Holloway.” I performed duties two ranks above me while there and served as the interim host aviation resource management superintendent. I led 36 Airmen in 10 operational squadrons, processed more than 400 flight pay cases, and managed 1,100 aircrew member records. My actions resulted in the distribution of $18.1 million of flight and jump incentive pay and enabled 815 missions that provided 4,400 hours of training and proficiency and 1,000 combat flying hours.”
He continued, “Under my guidance, my team amassed eight squadron awards and two Wingman Saves (implementing skills to intervene during harmful situations). But none of it would’ve been possible without the help of those mentors and supervisors I’ve had that helped develop my skill set along the way.”
Challenges did not deter Holloway on his path to success.
Stepping up to lead his Aviation Resource Management team during the pandemic, he navigated the complexities of meeting mission requirements, developing subordinates, and maintaining health and safety standards. Relying on the education and experiences gained from Alcorn State University and the Air Force, Holloway overcame these challenges while also juggling additional responsibilities such as unit fitness program manager, deployment manager, and emergency management coordinator.
When asked about the most fulfilling aspect of his career, Holloway emphasized his joy in witnessing the success of those he leads.
“The most fulfilling thing is seeing those I lead or have led succeed, develop professionally, meet their goals, overcome their fears, and promote as well,” said Holloway.