Maintainer trades greasy coveralls for scrubs

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Krystal M. Garrett
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
From enlisted maintainer to commissioned nurse candidate, an Air Commando from Hurlburt was one of 47 Airmen accepted into the Nursing Enlisted Commissioning Program June 17.

After earning his bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Colorado, Senior Airman John Wilbur, 901st Special Operations Maintenance Squadron avionics journeyman, decided to join the Air Force in October 2011.

"With four Air Force establishments in the Colorado Springs area, the Air Force core values and heritage was evident," said Wilbur. "That's where the idea to join came about."

Wilbur said he was hoping to commission as a mental health provider, but was told that he would need a master's degree in order to commission in that career field. So, he raised his right hand and enlisted instead.

Two years into his enlisted career, Wilbur researched commissioning programs and came across the NECP.

"This program aligned with exactly what I was looking for," he said.

The NECP will send Wilbur to nursing school full time.

After he graduates school, Wilbur will go through Commissioned Officer Training and the Air Force Nurse Transition Program. Then, he will be commissioned as a registered nurse.

Wilbur said he wants to be an Air Force nurse because he believes there is nothing more honorable than helping those who protect our freedom.

"Wilbur is a very positive Airman," said Master Sgt. Katherine Grabham, 901st SOMXS first sergeant. "I feel he could motivate Airmen during this time of force management programs since a lot of commissioning programs have been on the decline. [He proves] there is still a way to make it happen."

Wilbur said he is excited to join the medical career field.

"Being accepted was one of the best days of my life right behind my wedding day," he said. "I'm excited and look forward to working with people. Healing heroes and getting them back to their families will be my main objective."