Story by Jesenia Landaverde on 04/05/2019"It was my second day of technical training when I watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center. If you could think of a reason to serve your country, that was it. I knew from that moment on, I wanted to be the best Airman and boom operator I could be because people relied on me to be the best" Chief Master Sgt. Andrea Inmon, 92nd Operations Group chief enlisted manager.
Inmon's grit led her to accomplish many enlisted milestones, including becoming the first female active-duty chief master sergeant boom operator in the Air Force. Only the top one percent of all enlisted personnel reach the highest enlisted rank, and even fewer are female.
Inmon initially joined the Air Force in July 2001 for G.I. Bill benefits and to travel the world, but chose to make it a career when she discovered a new appreciation for her country and the men and women serving alongside her.
"A classmate in high school showed me the back cover of an Airman's Magazine that highlighted a boom operator," Inmon said. "The career choice sparked my interest almost immediately. I talked to my recruiter about my options and qualified shortly after. My first time flying on a plane was to basic military training in 2001 - the rest is history."
Boom operators are aircrew members assigned to tanker aircraft who safely and effectively transfer fuel from one military aircraft to another during flight, also known as air refueling.
Inmon graduated technical training in April 2002, and was assigned to the KC-135 Stratotanker. Over her 17-year career she has completed more than 3,000 flight hours. Additionally, she has deployed and flown combat missions in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
"I have many memorable assignments," Inmon said. "My assignment prior to coming to Fairchild gave me the ability to branch out I worked at Pease Air National Guard Base, New Hampshire, as a maintenance superintendent which prepared me to better communicate with my counterparts at Fairchild and understand the big Air Force mission."
Inmon has held a variety positions in the boom operator career field, and has an associate degree in aviation operations, instructor of technology and military science, and a Bachelor of Arts in human resources.
"Education has helped me become a better leader and learn how to better communicate with Airmen," Inmon said. "As leaders, one day we will be replaced. As we grow, we have a responsibility to bring our Airmen with us. Once you become a non-commissioned officer, it's not all about you anymore - it's about your Airmen."
In Inmon's current superintendent position, she is responsible for ensuring 600 92nd OG Airmen have the training and resources they need to perform their mission.
"She is very dedicated to her work," said Tech. Sgt. Tiffany Denham, 30th Space Wing administration base functional manager. "Her leadership style is transformational. She works countless hours to make sure not only the work is done, but those around her are taken care of. The best part of her leadership is how open, honest and willing she is to help you through anything. She is one of the most amazing supervisors, mentors and leaders I have ever had. Anyone who gets the chance to work with Chief Inmon will improve, learn and grow both personally and professionally."
The impact Inmon has on Airmen can be attributed to one of her former supervisors during her time as a junior enlisted Airman.
"Despite it only being a small pool of women in the career field, one of my first supervisors was a female," Inmon said. "She showed me the ropes and what I can do, not only as a female but as an Airman. She supported me and helped shape my outlook on life. It was then I noticed how impactful a supervisor's role is for Airmen."
Inmon uses her position as a chief master sergeant and superintendent to have a positive influence on her peers and Airmen.
"Chief Inmon has inspired me in many ways," Denham said. "She mentored me through several leadership challenges. I valued not only her advice, but her follow-up and motivation to help me become confident in leading the best way possible."
Inmon has not only aimed to be the best Airman and boom operator for her country and the Air Force, but aims to be the best for the Airmen who will serve and lead the future Air Force.