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Living the Dream: 2019 air show director’s aspiration of joining military turns life around

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs

At age 13, Maj. LaToshia Wright knew she wanted to join the military someday.

“I wanted to do something and be a part of something bigger than myself,” she said. “I visited the Army Junior ROTC at the high school I was to attend in Columbus, Georgia. The sense of family, camaraderie, structure, is what I wanted. Seeing the programs like Drill Team, Honor Guard, Rifle Team, etc. It was there that I realized I wanted to be a part of the military organization.”

Wright, deputy director of the 78th Force Support Squadron at Robins, became a mom to her two sons by 18.

The West Palm Beach, Florida, native has had her share of struggles, once being homeless, living on welfare, and living in public housing. But, Wright persevered.

On Dec. 16, 2006, then 27-year-old Wright commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. 

“Both of my boys, then about 8 and 10 years old, were there to pin my rank on the shoulders of my service dress,” she said. “I was finally able to fulfill my childhood dream of joining the military.”

Wright has come a long way since first stepping into the blue.  

As the 78th FSS deputy director, Wright assists the director in daily squadron operations of approximately 700 employees in nine flights across 64 facilities, providing 22,000 people with quality of life, food, fun and fitness activities to maintain readiness for three combatant commands, three wings, five major commands and 54 mission partners, as well as overseeing and managing future initiatives, and morale, welfare and recreation activities.

Being at Robins a little more than a year, Wright took on a new adventure, stepping into the role of the 2019 Thunder Over Georgia Air Show interim director.

“Upon my initial selection as air show director, we didn’t have a director for FSS,” she explained. “As such, I was the interim commander. Both jobs carry a lot of responsibility.  It was difficult juggling both roles. However, with the support of Patty Ray, an operations officer with FSS, and former 78th FSS Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Carmia Bell-Frazier, we made it work until our new director, Lorna Fermanis, arrived.”

In the days leading up to the big show, Wright had her hands full, making recommendations for people to serve on the air show committee, requesting and allocating resources for the air show, as well as being familiar with Defense Department, Air Force and major command instructions, and coordinating with Public Affairs, mission partners, and 78th Air Base Wing staff directing air show procedures, force protection, aircraft and weapons safety, among other duties.

But, if she had it to do all over again, Wright said she’d still take on the role.

“If you would have asked me this a few months ago, I would have said no,” she said. “It has been hard. I went from being the interim 78th Force Support Squadron commander directly into Air Show Director. It has been fast and furious since I arrived here. 

“However, I am thankful for the opportunity and the trust my leadership had in me to be able to successfully plan and execute this year’s Thunder Over Georgia Air Show and to lead one of the largest squadrons on Robins AFB. In all things, there is a reason and a season,” the major said.

Maj. Wright said her faith has carried her through.

“Not only did my team help me to be successful, but my faith gave me comfort knowing that I was not put in this position to fail,” she said. “I have heard it said before, “God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called.”

Maj. Wright said being the air show director has been a very rewarding experience.

“The relationships I have built, both personal and professional, people I have met, friends made, insight gained, mentorship gained and received,” she said. “None of it would have occurred without being in the air show director position.” 

With the air show behind her, Wright said she can get back to recreational activities and enjoying her hobbies like reading, travel, and focusing on her seminary studies.