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Face of Defense: Air Guardsman Fulfills Dream of Becoming a Lawyer

By Air Force 2nd Lt. Tinashe T. Machona, 161st Air Refueling Wing

PHOENIX, June 20, 2016 — For Senior Master Sgt. Alex Brown, a 20-year Air Force veteran and Arizona Air National Guard member, a life-long calling to practice law set him upon an arduous journey to fulfill a dream.

The dream became reality when he passed the Arizona bar exam recently. The newly minted licensed attorney is the material management superintendent for the 161st Logistics Readiness Squadron at the 161st Air Refueling Wing here.

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in high school. It’s never too late to follow your dreams,” Brown said. “When I found out that I passed the bar exam, I was overwhelmed with joy, and the first thing I did was call my mother.”

Training Instructor

Earlier in his career, Brown served as a military training instructor, or MTI, at Air Force basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio in Texas.

“Being an MTI was one of the most rewarding jobs in my Air Force career,” Brown said. As an instructor, he added, he worked up to 18 hours per day, and the experience taught him time management, among other skills.

“One of the things I learned as an MTI was the ability to speak in front of people. I eventually became more comfortable, because I had to consistently talk in front of 65 trainees without hesitating,” he said. “When you make your opening and closing argument in court, you are essentially telling a story to the judge or jury, and you have to have emotion in your story if you want them to find in your favor.”

Law School Student

After joining the Arizona Air National Guard, Brown enrolled in the Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix. He served full-time in logistics while attending classes at night. However, the rigors of study and internships eventually compelled him to resign his full-time job in his last year of law school, though he continued to serve in the unit part time.

While in law school, Brown participated in a family law clinic that exposed him to representing clients in court. He also took part in a municipal prosecution “externship” that enabled him to prosecute criminal cases under the auspices of an Arizona licensed attorney. The experience made him want to be a prosecutor for the city of Phoenix, he said.

Fellow squadron member Air Force Tech. Sgt. Travis Orr described Brown as an inspirational figure who has influenced both his civilian and military aspirations. “Senior Master Sergeant Brown is a leader, and people gravitate toward him because of his knowledge about life,” Orr said. He added that Brown is a “very smart and determined individual who has a positive way with people.”

“The unit was consumed with pride when he passed the bar exam,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Michelle Schwimmer, a logistics officer in the squadron. “Senior Master Sergeant Brown has passion for his work that is driven by professionalism and perfection. He exemplifies leadership characteristics that motivate airmen to always do the right thing.”

Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Aguirre, the 161st Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, has known Brown for more than a decade and described him as an airman’s airman.

“Senior Master Sergeant Brown takes the utmost pride in wearing the uniform, and his military bearing is beyond reproach,” Aguirre said. “His expertise and passion for airmanship has an astounding and influential impact on the organization.”

Brown soon will achieve perhaps another life-long dream later this year, when he is promoted to chief master sergeant, the Air Force’s highest enlisted rank, Aguirre said.
Distribution channels: Military