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News > Feature - Shaw SNCO highlighted in honor of Black History Month
Shaw SNCO mentors Airmen
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Senior Master Sgt. Ronshella White, 20th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, gives Senior Airman Charlene Gayle, 9th Air Force knowledge operations technician, advice on her career options. Sergeant White counsels Shaw's Airmen on retraining, retention, special duties, military training instructors and postal positions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Alexandria Mosness)
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Shaw SNCO highlighted in honor of Black History Month

Posted 2/23/2011   Updated 2/28/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Alexandria Mosness
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

2/23/2011 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- She came into the Air Force with no family background of military service, but said she wanted to serve because of the camaraderie in the military.

Twenty- four years later, Senior Master Sgt. Ronshella White, is still living by the notion that serving her country is an honor.

"My parents were surprised when I told them I was going to join the Air Force," Sergeant White exclaimed. "They couldn't believe their little girl wanted to join the military. But, I did the research and showed them I could still go to school and achieve what I wanted to."

The Texarkana, Ark., native chose a career in information management.

"It is a customer-focused career field," she said. "The administrative world has a lot of customers and a huge capacity of serving people."

Throughout her time in the Air Force, Sergeant White has seen a buffet of job opportunities.

She worked at the school for her career field, was an instructor at the noncommissioned officer academy, and is currently the Shaw career assistant advisor, she said.

In her advisory role, she helps Airmen find jobs that fit them best works and also advises on special duty jobs.

"I counsel on retraining, retention, special duties, military training instructors and postal," she added. "I am the liaison with the rest of the Air Force."

The most rewarding part of Sergeant White's job is helping people, she said.

"What I love the most are the phone calls and emails that just say thanks Sergeant White," she said. "I have gotten four people into recruiting. One was a young couple, and we were able to get them recruiter positions in the area they wanted. They were so excited."

Sergeant White always tells the Airmen she meets to "stay in touch," but when she says it, she truly means it.

"Anything you ask of her, she will go full circle, from start to finish, to find the answer," said Master Sgt. Tammie Martinez, First Term Airman Center noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "If you are a stranger off the street, and you come into her office, she will help you out. She is the most educated and outgoing person you will ever meet."

The Air Force veteran sees all sorts of challenges and will help anyone who asks for it.

"People bring relatives from off base to talk to me," she said. "I do a family program so the family can know what to expect. I encourage spouses to come to these meetings. I tell them about employment around base."

There is not much that Sergeant White does not see in her job, but she believes in finding the answers.

"If it comes to my office, it will be handled," she asserted.

But, that is just the type of person Sergeant White is, explained Sergeant Martinez.

"She treats people not for what they look like, but for what's inside," she added. "It doesn't matter what walk of life you come from, she will treat you with the upmost respect. It doesn't matter what your skin color, it's your soul she looks at."
Although she is now a pro with 24 years in the Air Force, she admits she never expected to stay for so long.

"After four years I thought, this is not too bad," she reminisced. "I truly grew into the patriotism of it all."

Not only was it the love of country, but also she was also aware of her Air Force family.

"I remember I moved out of my apartment when I was an Airman, and my first sergeant and members of my squadron came out and moved me," she said. "I didn't even have to ask. The Air Force is one of the only places where something like this would happen. Fellowship is so huge."

Sergeant White was always used to a strong family unit.

"My father taught us about character and integrity; and he lived it," she said. "My family, we did everything together. We were it. My father engrained core values, so when I came in, I already had the values we live by. Integrity is hard to come by. You either have it or you don't."

With the month of February being Black History Month, the Shaw career advisor remembered those who came before her.

"Take advantage and seek out the privileges our forefathers laid out for us," she said. "Remember, (this month) represents us reflecting on why we are here. We are not all supposed to be alike; magical things happen when we embrace our differences."

"Black History Month should be a focus for everyone no matter what ethnicity to highlight where we come from," she added.

As for passing on her heritage, Sergeant White has strong expectations for her son James Terrell.

"We have a black history library at home with books about Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and others," she said. "I want him to have a clear understanding of his heritage and know his obligation to his generation. I tell him he will be engaged with society. He will not sit back and reap the benefits of others' sacrifices. He knows he can achieve anything through hard work. I teach him never to take for granted other people's sacrifices."

And for how much longer Sergeant White will be in the Air Force, she is just taking it one day at a time.

"I am blessed to be here and to serve in our Air Force," she said.

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