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Chief Master Sgt. LaShawn Wilson is the 579th Medical Group Superintendent at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. She is a recent arrival from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England who has been here since October.

She began her Air Force career 25 years ago using her love for math and science in the avionics career field working with the F-4 Phantom aircraft. She later decided to cross-train into the dental career field because she discovered she loved working with people even more.

"I joined for the same reasons a lot of people join," she said. "I wanted a way to pay for school, I wanted to travel and I was attracted to the quality of life the Air Force offered. More importantly, though, I wanted to do something that would allow me to be as successful as I chose to be."

Wilson said her favorite aspect of being an Air Force leader is influencing other Airmen to also strive for success.

"I love interacting with Airmen and pushing them to be better than they may have thought they could ever be," she said.

The Queens, N.Y., native said that joining the Air Force did not prove to be much of a culture shock for her, as far as meeting new people was concerned.

"When you grow up in New York, you grow up around all kinds of different people from different walks of life," she said. "So I was already used to being around new and different people all the time when I joined the Air Force."

She is a single mother of two college-age children, Malik, 21, and Uzuri, 20.

From 2003-2006, she was assigned to the 31st Dental Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, as a non-volunteer assignment.

"I had no desire to go to Aviano, which is somewhat unusual because there are so many people who would love to go there," she said. "It was one of my most challenging assignments, but also one of my most rewarding."

Though Wilson made chief ahead of schedule at just 19 years, she said that like most Airmen, her most difficult stripe to make was technical sergeant, which took her four attempts.

She is currently working to finish a master's degree in human resources management. With just two classes to go, she plans to stay in the Air Force well into the future.

"I probably won't retire until after I reach my 30-year mark," she said. "I still love what I do in the Air Force working with people."