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Former 104th Fighter Wing Airmen strives for greatness, receives commission

Second Lieutenant Nicolle Mathison salutes Tech. Sgt. Tanya Sweeney, 104th Force Support Squadron dining facility NCO in charge, Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. The first salute is a time honored tradition where a newly commissioned officer salutes somebody that has had an impact on them. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

Second Lieutenant Nicolle Mathison salutes Tech. Sgt. Tanya Sweeney, 104th Force Support Squadron dining facility NCO in charge, Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. The first salute is a time honored tradition where a newly commissioned officer salutes somebody that has had an impact on them. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Guerber, detachment commander for University of Massachusetts in Amherst Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 370, and 2nd Lt. Nicolle Mathison pose for a photo Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. Mathison will serve as a public affairs officer at Nellis Air Force Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Guerber, detachment commander for University of Massachusetts in Amherst Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 370, and 2nd Lt. Nicolle Mathison pose for a photo Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. Mathison will serve as a public affairs officer at Nellis Air Force Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Guerber, detachment commander for University of Massachusetts in Amherst Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 370, commissions 2nd Lt. Nicolle Mathison Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. Mathison graduated from UMASS ROTC Det 3 as the cadet commander. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Guerber, detachment commander for University of Massachusetts in Amherst Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 370, commissions 2nd Lt. Nicolle Mathison Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. Mathison graduated from UMASS ROTC Det 3 as the cadet commander. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

(From left) Technical Sgt. Tanya Sweeney, 104th Force Support Squadron dining facility NCO in charge, Lisa Potito 104th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness program manager, 2nd Lt. Nicolle Mathison, and Senior Master Sgt. Sandra Woodin, 104 FSS base services superintendent, participate in Mathison's commissioning ceremony, Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. Mathison chose the three women to pin on her rank of second lieutenant during the ceremony because of the impact they've had on her. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

(From left) Technical Sgt. Tanya Sweeney, 104th Force Support Squadron dining facility NCO in charge, Lisa Potito 104th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness program manager, 2nd Lt. Nicolle Mathison, and Senior Master Sgt. Sandra Woodin, 104 FSS base services superintendent, participate in Mathison's commissioning ceremony, Feb. 7, 2018, at Barnes Air National Guard Base. Mathison chose the three women to pin on her rank of second lieutenant during the ceremony because of the impact they've had on her. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Randy Burlingame)

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts --

Second Lieutenant Nicolle Mathison achieved her lifelong goal of becoming a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force, Feb. 7, 2019, during a commissioning ceremony held here.

 

Mathison recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst Reserve Officer Training Corps.

 

“All I knew is that I wanted to be an officer,” said Mathison. “My dad was navigator. I just grew up seeing him as an officer, so I knew I wanted to be an officer.”

 

Mathison is leaving the 104th Mission Support for Nellis Air Force Base, where she will serve as a public affairs officer.

 

“I could get emotional, because I finally found my place,” Mathison said “It feels good. It feels surreal”

 

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Guerber, detachment commander for University of Massachusetts in Amherst Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 370, spoke at the ceremony and commended Mathison for staying dedicated while working at the 104th FW full-time, going school, and serving as the cadet wing commander.

 

“The Air Force, and really any organization, needs people who can solve tough challenges,” said Guerber. “You’re going to need to take that grit with you. I think you’re going to make an awesome officer.”

 

Having experience as an enlisted member of the Air National Guard helped Mathison keep a level head throughout her journey, she said. Serving as the cadet wing commander also taught her some valuable lessons.

 

“It taught me how to really take care of my people, how to listen to their needs, and that their success will always translate into the bigger success of the mission,” said Mathison. “Iron sharpens iron. I honestly feel like I couldn’t have reached the level of wisdom and learned how to work under pressure if it wasn’t for my classmates.”