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Airmen couple earn STEP promotions

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Elijaih Tiggs, 349th Recruiting Squadron marketing NCO
  • Air Force Recruiting Service

While still celebrating the accomplishment of her husband’s promotion thanks to the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program one week earlier, Staff Sgt. Chakoya Lockett, 349th Recruiting Squadron recruiter, was unaware that her own unit's leadership had decided to announce her own STEP promotion. 

In the early afternoon, Dec. 7, 2021, Chakoya was in her recruiting office when surprised by a seemingly impromptu visit from 349th RCS leadership as well as her husband, Tech. Sgt. Jackson Lockett, a 965th Airborne Air Control Squadron flight engineer at Tinker Air Force Base. Chakoya was then handed a phone with a video call from Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, Air Education and Training Command commander, at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Webb congratulated her on her outstanding work and announced that he had selected her for STEP promotion to technical sergeant.

“I am ecstatic!” said Chakoya. “I’m just so blessed to have supervision who see me and took the time to recognize me for those accomplishments.”

Among that supervision from the 349th RCS was Chief Master Sgt. Raymond Mott, 349th RCS senior enlisted leader, who shared the weight of this promotion with the squadron following Webb’s announcement.

“Imagine if you will, competing with all the top talent we have in Air Force Recruiting Service. Then crank it up to the AETC level where we also include other top talent like Military Training Instructors, Military Training Leaders, tech school instructors and all the support needed for those missions,” said Mott. “From this arena is where our recruiter was selected.”

Mott’s confirmations of Chakoya’s accomplishments as a recruiter went beyond her current title as he continued sharing insight into Lockett’s selection for promotion.

“Being the exceptional recruiter that you are would have only had you in competition with other exceptional recruiters,” Mott said. “But being an exceptionally well-rounded, multi-capable Airman is what helped you stand out and earn this promotion. That work ethic will continue to serve you best in your career no matter where you serve.”

Lockett was impacted by the support of her leadership.

“Chief’s words really resonated with me because it’s basically how I’ve molded my career so far. But I’ve always felt like that mentality wouldn’t get me far,” Lockett said. “I don’t do things to check a box and I never have. I strive to do things that are meaningful to me, impact lives, and even help me grow as a person, not just as an Airman.”

Lockett is still in her first year as a recruiter. Originally an aerospace ground equipment maintainer she has carried a focused drive to overcome all obstacles no matter the arena.

“Maintenance was a huge learning curve for me, but I’ve always excelled academically and I think that’s what I’ve tried to maintain throughout my career,” said Lockett. “This has been a tough year, not just for my rookie year, but personally as well, and I feel like this validates all the sacrifices and bumps in the road.”

The Lockett household will be led by two new technical sergeants and they have a lot to celebrate as the year closes.

“I’m celebrating with a fancy steak dinner and spending time with my husband and son who have sacrificed with me through my entire journey,” said Lockett.