A man of many hats

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sarah Williams
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force provides multiple ways to expand an Airman’s career. Developmental special duties, extra training opportunities, and career additional duties are offered to those willing to take on the responsibilities.

Tech. Sgt. Willie Rouse has taken the opportunities afforded to take a break from his original career field and pursue his passion for people.

Originally an imagery analyst, Rouse is now the 17th Training Support Squadron’s security manager as well as the unit deployment manager, an alternate duty first sergeant, Tactical Combat Casualty Care trainer, and even helps his Airman with unit training manager duties.

It is common for Airmen to take these offers as a chance to move stations or propel their career, but Rouse has continued to make his own rewards a lower priority while focusing solely on the mission and people assigned to him.

“I could chase my own recognition in hopes of getting promoted or awards, but I truly have a passion for people,” said Rouse. “Taking the route of helping people and making myself useful in general when needed is more important to me.”

With insufficient time in the day, Rouse has found himself searching for spare minutes to complete his tasks. Rouse explained that compartmentalizing plays a major role in ensuring the task at hand can be accomplished to the best of one's ability when you are pulled in different directions.

“If you look at everything all at once, it can become overwhelming,” Rouse advised. “Just take it step-by-step and figure out what’s the most important thing at that moment.”

Focusing on the people aspect of his many demanding duties has helped Rouse sort through his tasks and determine the best course of action to help take care of Airmen when they need to be out-processed or trained.

Even though Rouse prioritizes his tasks to ensure he can keep work at work, his work life flows into his personal life, and he finds himself having to take it home from time to time.

One of Rouse’s many hats is that of a dad and husband. Rouse began to smile as he discussed the support from his wife that made it possible for him to juggle his duties between being an Airman and a family man.

“I’m fortunate enough to have a partner who covers the places I’m not able to cover and allows me to come home and do the things I can,” Rouse expressed. “Even if it is ironing clothes while helping my son with sight words.”

Rouse proudly explained that his family has influenced how he cares for people and hopes to be the same influence for his sons.

When given the opportunity, Rouse often teaches his five sons that helping each other with something as small as chores is just as important as helping each other with anything else.

“I want to instill in my kids the mentality of contributing where you can,” said Rouse. “Even if it is their brothers, treat them the way you want to be treated. I really hope that it rubs off on them, and they want to do that for others.”

Rouse’s care for others has shown in all aspects of his life, whether it is his willingness to help his sons with math homework or working on the weekend to ensure an Airman out-processes for a last-minute deployment.

“His care for people is amazing,” said Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Brest, 17th TRSS senior enlisted leader. “He wears so many different hats and has a hand in so many different things around the squadron, but he’s always willing to help others.”

Rouse is now 14 years into his military career and plans to take his passion for people to drive him even further.

“The future can take me anywhere,” Rouse reflected. “Whether I become an officer or a military training instructor, people will always be my cause.”