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Air National Guard Airman perseveres, gains title of distinguished honor graduate

Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, 104th Fighter Wing paralegal, poses for a photo with his technical school friends on photo day at the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at tech school. (courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, 104th Fighter Wing paralegal, poses for a photo with his technical school friends on photo day at the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at tech school. (courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, 104th Fighter Wing paralegal, poses for a photo with his distinguished honor graduate trophy after graduating from the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at technical school. (courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, 104th Fighter Wing paralegal, poses for a photo with his distinguished honor graduate trophy after graduating from the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at technical school. (courtesy photo)

Colonel Christopher Brown, Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, other distinguished honor graduates, and Chief Master Sgt. Jenny Green, pose for a photo after Roberson's class's graduation from the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at technical school. (courtesy photo)

Colonel Christopher Brown, Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, other distinguished honor graduates, and Chief Master Sgt. Jenny Green, pose for a photo after Roberson's class's graduation from the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at technical school. (courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, 104th Fighter Wing paralegal, poses for a photo after graduating from the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at technical school. (courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, 104th Fighter Wing paralegal, poses for a photo after graduating from the Air Force Judge Advocate General School, Montgomery, Alabama. Roberson received the award of distinguished honor graduate for his outstanding performance at technical school. (courtesy photo)

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. --

For most Airmen, technical training school is a stressful, yet fun time where members are pushed to do their best in a tough academic environment while fostering relationships that often turn into lifelong friendships. For Staff Sgt. Maurice Roberson, 104th Fighter Wing paralegal and former Army National Guard diesel technician, the journey through the Air Force Judge Advocate General School in Montgomery, Alabama was different from most Airmens’ experiences.

Soon after Roberson arrived at his tech school, COVID-19 emerged as a pandemic, greatly affecting how operations were done at the school, just like everywhere else.

“Once the mighty COVID-19 fully arrived in Alabama, the base implemented requirements to wear masks, keep six feet of social distance when possible, and they limited the number of people allowed when gathering,” said Roberson. “There were also additions of hand sanitizing points, and a restriction of traffic throughout the buildings.”

Although the learning didn’t stop, accomodations were made. The limitations on gathering and exploring made tech school less enjoyable, said Roberson.

“It halted our ability to further explore what Alabama and surrounding locations had to offer,” said Roberson. “Being quarantined dampened things a little.”

Because of the newly implemented safety guidelines, prior service members, including Roberson, had to go through several moves which affected their learning by disrupting routines they had developed, said Roberson. Nevertheless, Roberson continued to excel at his school work, gaining him the title of distinguished honor graduate.

“My goal was to stay focused on the task at hand and learn as much as possible,” said Roberson. “It felt amazing to have my work recognized in that way. It lets me know that someone is always paying attention to our efforts.”

Roberson said the education he recieved at tech school is a stepping stone towards his goal of pursuing a law degree, and working in a legal environment is preparing him for a successful, full-time civilian career in the legal realm.

“I am thankful to the Air National Guard, 104FW and the legal office for having faith in my abilities when bringing me on to the legal team,” said Roberson. “It is a great honor to be a part of this wing, and I look forward to doing my part as a paralegal.”