JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --
As America honor those African Americans who became the first to breakdown major barriers in diversity, Air National Guardsman, Staff Sgt. Rose Anna Beljour-Sommer’s story is a reminder to also celebrate those who currently strive to make their own path.
“I am the first Beljour to have ever stepped foot on to Lackland Air Force Base,” Beljour-Sommer said. “It is part of the reason I kept my last name after marriage. It is a huge homage that my sister—who was the only one to join the Marine Corps—and I pay to our parents and to our culture.”
Though initially, she was motivated to join the military after witnessing her brother join the Army, once enlisted, Beljour-Sommer began to find her own reasons to serve.
“I knew I wanted to learn something completely different then what I was doing on the civilian side, but I also wanted to make myself a versatile individual,” said Beljour-Sommer. “I was always taught to have a back-up for my back-up. Joining the military was my chance to be a part of that unique one percent. I like and am proud of the exclusivity that I feel to know I serve.”
Now at five years and two months of service, Beljour-Sommer, an engineering assistant assigned to the 108th Civil Engineering Squadron recalls her proudest moment to date.
“At Airman Leadership School I received two out of the four awards that were given to the selectees of the graduating class,” said Beljour-Sommer. “I shocked, surprised and honored because I went in just hoping to pass. Although no one from my unit was able to make my graduation, I know, I not only represented CE well, but I made them and the 108th proud.”
Despite being part of a structured field, Beljour-Sommer says her career field welcomes creativity.
“From roads to buildings, built or renovated, we put together the design for it using Auto Computer Aided Design,” said Beljour-Sommer. “We are responsible for planning and managing construction projects on base as well. We also use surveying technology to include Global Positioning Systems and maintain Geographic Information System modules.”
More specifically, Beljour-Sommer adds that the skill set and training required as an EA has further fueled her passion and pride for serving.
“I absolutely love using AutoCAD,” said Beljour-Sommer. “It’s a great skill to have whether in the military or on the civilian side. I love it because it is literally like watching a piece of art come to life. To see it go from a computer screen or a printout to an actual physical establishment is very satisfying. You’re almost like a world-renowned interior designer when it comes to the CAD aspect of being an EA.”
With skill sets being honed and academic milestones being met, Beljour-Sommer remains receptive to what measures she will conquer next.
“I do not know where the wind will blow me long-term, but if God or fate sees fit, maybe I will become an officer,” said Beljour-Sommer.
Regardless, like past African American trailblazers, she wants to leave a legacy of integrity, service, and excellence—marking another Airman to exemplify morale and leadership within the 108th Air National Guard.
“Great leaders don't set out to be a leader…they set out to make a difference,” said Beljour-Sommer. “It's never about the role. Always about the goal.”