Motivated By His Kids: Deployed enlisted defender earns doctoral degree

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Josh Williams

For one Reserve Citizen Airman deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, motivation comes from the desire to set a positive example for his children.

For the last 12 years, while his children slept, Tech. Sgt. Chip Perkins, who was recently deployed as part of the 380th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Al Dhafra, studied and wrote papers at night.

All of that effort and sacrifice paid off recently when he earned his doctoral degree in business management. On the journey to that doctoral degree, the 36-year-old picked up a bachelor’s and master’s degree – all from Colorado Technical University.

“I really pursued my education for my kids,” Perkins said. “I want to be someone they can look up to. The fact that I got a doctoral degree is something they can feel they are capable of as well.”

Perkins joined the Air Force at the age of 21. After nearly 10 years on active duty and still having the desire to serve, he joined the Reserve in 2017.

“The military has definitely changed me for the better,” he said. “Where I grew up, most individuals who are African-American are either doing time in jail or on drugs.”

Perkins credited the start to his quest for higher education to his mentor, retired Chief Master Sgt. Steven Thomas, who strongly encouraged him to take his first college class.

Leaders from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing were glad to have Perkins on their team.

“It’s been awesome having Chip as a part of the 380th during this deployment,” said Chief Master Sgt. Alvin Dyer, 380th AEW command chief. “He serves as a great role model through his dedication to his family, education and the Air Force.”

Perkins said he is grateful for the support he gets from his wife and family.

“This deployment has had its challenges,” said Perkins, who trained for and completed the Dubai Marathon while deployed. “I was able to get home to see my newborn daughter for the first time. But, to be honest, leaving her was way more difficult than I imagined. We were all incredibly grateful to share that time together.”

The future is bright for Perkins, who is hoping to advance with his civilian employer, UPS, or become a teacher.

“We will see what the future holds,” he said. “You really shouldn’t limit yourself. You never know what you are capable of.”

Check out Perkins' video story at


(Williams, who is assigned to the 914th Airlift Wing public affairs office, was assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs office when he wrote this story.)