An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | June 11, 2020

A little Bit Country, a Little Bit Tactical

By Airman 1st Class Erin Baxter 15th Wing Public Affairs

A group of Airmen leap out of a C-17 Globemaster and plummet toward the earth. They deploy their parachutes to land safely and prepare to execute the perfect airstrike.

Tactical Air Control Party Airmen often perform feats like this in order to accomplish their mission on the ground, while aircraft above them deploy the strikes they call.

As a 25th Air Support Operations Squadron TACP Airman, Staff Sgt. Derek Skelton’s responsibility on the frontlines is to ensure an airstrike is called on the target at the correct time. This career field involves around seven months of physical, mental, and technical training to ensure the Airmen are battle-ready and highly skilled.

On a normal day, Skelton travels to participate in close air support training or uses a simulator to maintain his skills.

“The real fun happens when I’m out on a range and can talk to live aircraft and use live ordinance on targets,” said Skelton.

When Skelton is off duty, he dedicates spare time to working toward a special dream of his.

“My goal is to make great music that people will love and connect with, perform in front of thousands of fans, and fulfill a lifelong dream of mine which is to be a well-known recording artist,” said Skelton.

Staff Sgt. Hailey Haux, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs photojournalist, is a good friend of Skelton and a fan of his music.

“I know Derek through my church’s small group,” said Haux.”He is an incredibly talented person and I know he’ll get far in the music industry. He’s already had two singles released which are really good!”

Following his dreams hasn’t always been easy, Skelton said. At 16, he traveled to Nashville to try out for American Idol and didn’t make it. He’s also tried out for The Voice to no avail and spoken to recording artists who have not reached back..

“Country music is a passion of mine,” said Skelton. “ I spend a lot of time working on new material like melodies on the guitar and lyrics when I’m not at work. I also do as much marketing as I can for myself to get my music heard by as many listeners as possible.”

Although Skelton faces adversity in following his dreams, he still reaches after them.

“Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from trying,” said Skelton. “There will be plenty of people that will tell you that you can’t do something or that the odds aren’t in your favor but don’t let that stop you from putting yourself out there.”

“Everybody should have a dream and chase that dream,” he continued.“It may not end up the way you want, but it’s worth the journey it will take you on.”

Like Us
Follow Us



CNO Hosts Full-Honors Welcoming Ceremony for Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng
Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng receives a full-honors welcoming ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, May 25. Beng, who earlier this month became the first naval officer to lead Singapore’s armed forces, reaffirmed with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday the enduring U.S.-Singapore bilateral defense relationship during his visit to Washington. (U.S. Navy photo Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael B. Zingaro)
May 26, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday hosted Singapore’s Chief of Defense Rear Adm. Aaron Beng in Washington, D.C., for a full-honors welcoming ceremony, May 25.At the ceremony, CNO presented Beng with a...

Vietnam Vets Honored during 50th Anniversary Celebration
Visitors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. walk the length of the wall March 11 and observe the more than 58,000 names engraved on the wall. The memorial is the most visited memorial on the Washington, D.C. Mall with more than 5 million visitors every year. (Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Sarah Sangster, Army News Service)
May 26, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- The Vietnam War Commemoration hosted Welcome Home, a three-day event in Washington, D.C. on May 11-13 to celebrate 50 years since the last Soldier, Master Sgt. Max Beilke, left Vietnam, and to honor Vietnam...

Washington Guard Prepares for Hanuman Guardian 23
Vehicles from 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, Washington National Guard, sit in the loading bay of a cargo ship as it is being loaded for travel to the Kingdom of Thailand prior to Hanuman Guardian 23 on May 23, 2023, at the Port of Tacoma, Wash. (Joseph Siemandel)
May 26, 2023 - TACOMA, Wash. -- This summer, more than 500 Washington National Guard members will take part in Hanuman Guardian 23, an annual, bilateral exercise hosted by the Royal Thai Army at the Cavalry Center in Saraburi, Thailand...

PACAF RQ-4 Global Hawks Arrive at Yokota Air Base
An RQ-4 Global Hawk, assigned to the 4th Reconnaissance Squadron, 319th Operation Group, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, sits on the flightline at Yokota Air Base, Japan, May 2, 2023. U.S. Pacific Air Forces began positioning RQ-4 Global Hawks at Yokota Air Base, Japan, from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on May 15 to provide theater-wide enduring operations in support of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. (U.S, Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)
May 25, 2023 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- U.S. Pacific Air Forces began positioning RQ-4 Global Hawks at Yokota Air Base, Japan, from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, on May 15 to provide theater-wide enduring operations in support of...

U.S. Partnership with U.K., Australia Enhances Security
U.S. Marines with 3d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Ground Combat Element, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin 22, establish defensive positions as MV-22 Ospreys approach for landing during an airfield seizure event as part of exercise Koolendong 22 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Curtin, WA, Australia, July 18, 2022. Exercise Koolendong 22 is a combined and joint force exercise focused on expeditionary advanced base operations conducted by U.S. Marines, U.S. Soldiers, U.S. Airmen, and Australian Defence Force personnel. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Cedar Barnes)
May 25, 2023 - WASHINGTON -- In September 2021, the U.S., Australia and the U.K. announced a new partnership, AUKUS, meant to strengthen alliances and security, especially in the Indo-Pacific. In March, plans for moving forward on the first...