By Air Force Senior Airman Vernon L. Fowler Jr.
6th Air Mobility Wing
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., April 14, 2015 – The late NFL Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders are made, they are not born.” That quote never rang more true than it has for Air Force 1st Lt. Kim Atkins, a sexual assault response coordinator here.
“Both my grandfather and dad served in the Army as infantrymen,” Atkins said. “My mother is currently a first sergeant at Dover Air Force Base, and my aunt is serving in the Army Reserve and used to be a drill sergeant. So, my work ethic was instilled into me.”
Groomed for Leadership
Atkins, who hails from Dover, Delaware, said she was groomed for leadership, starting with her time serving as the flight commander in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and then as captain on her cross country and track teams in high school. She said she was also a member of the National Honor Society and worked as a guidance counselor’s assistant and nurse’s assistant at her school.
After graduating, Atkins accepted an ROTC scholarship to the University of Delaware, where she would regularly lead the joint color guard and help train the field training preparation flights.
“I loved being a part of JROTC,” Atkins said. “I had an awesome instructor who pushed me to continue it into college.”
After graduating from college, Atkins left for officer training school. There, she would face various obstacles. One of the biggest, she said, was being underestimated by her peers and instructors. Consequently, she said she worked hard to become the ROTC Iron Woman for fitness excellence.
“I, along with a male, was named the top in fitness out of 350,” Atkins said. “I like to prove people wrong.”
After receiving her commission and completing technical school, Atkins was assigned to MacDill’s 6th Force Support Squadron sustainment services flight. She would later work in readiness and mortuary affairs before finding herself as the SARC.
Seeks to Excel
“Upon my arrival to MacDill, my goal was to be a professional first,” Atkins said. “I came here with the intent to not only improve my leadership, but also my followership and be my personal best for everyone’s benefit.”
Atkins was recently accepted to become an instructor at Officer Training School. She will depart MacDill and head to the course this summer, where she will be evaluated as she leads her first flight.
“I’m super excited, and I hope to keep growing as a leader and a follower,” Atkins said. “I’m going to make sure to put my best foot forward and be an example because, as a friend once told me, ‘Attitude determines altitude.’”