Jayhawk Spotlight – October 2017

Tech. Sgt. Jacob Smith

Fighting Jayhawk since 2011

Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Penney, 184th Public Affairs

Photo by Senior Airman Lauren Penney, 184th Public Affairs

184th Operations Support Squadron

Military Job Title: 
Weapons and Tactics Noncommissioned Officer in Charge

Above & Beyond:
 – Two CCAF Associate’s Degrees in Intelligence Studies and Weather Technology
– Delivered monthly tailored training on threat systems and tactics to AFSC-diverse ISR Group
– Headed development of DGS-KS NGA Support Cell; instructed 33 analysts and led team through 2,138 hours of exploitation; adapted exploitation processes to locally available information systems.
– Instructed partner nation joint service course on intelligence tactics, techniques, and procedures
– 25th AF Maj. Gen. Larson Bronze Medalist; three-time local high scorer for AFSC-specific test
– Organized annual Veterans Day event at Mulvane Grade School; speakers from 184 IW teach and inspire the next generation while fostering good relations with the community
My story:
I was born in Parsons, Kansas and moved to Wichita while in grade school in 1997. During high school, I was fortunate enough to meet the young woman who would later become my wife and create a permanent anchor for me in Kansas. I joined the Air Force in Nov. 2005 as a Korean linguist and attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey California. I married Janice in 2006, then in 2007, retrained as a weather forecaster at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. My first (and only) active duty assignment began at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in 2008 as a forecaster and then regional forecast supervisor. While Hawaii is an amazing place to visit, my wife and I missed our families, straight roads and the simple lifestyle available to us in Kansas. At the same time, I could not see myself being happy with a “normal” civilian job outside the military. Conveniently, someone I worked with happened to know of a certain intelligence wing at McConnell, and I soon found myself planning to return to Wichita to enlist in the Air National Guard as a geospatial intelligence analyst in 2011. After tech school in 2012, I was lucky enough to be placed on various forms of orders for three years before becoming Active Guard Reserve in 2015. Over the last five years, the mentors and senior leadership I have worked for have been willing to take a chance on entrusting me with responsibilities of which I certainly don’t feel worthy; these are the kind of people who get excited about enabling others and seeing them succeed. Their motivation has left its mark, and now my best career moments come when I get a chance to instruct and (hopefully) inspire passion in others. We seek to leave behind the best possible unit for future Jayhawks. In the worlds of intelligence and cyber, it’s exciting to see where future tech and tasking lead us. Being a member of the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconaissance Group enables me to have this weird job and be a part of important events happening around the world, then still go home and see my family every night and tuck my kids into bed. That is a privilege for which I am extremely grateful.