Air Force ROTC commissions new officer hailed for ‘quiet confidence and humility’


Keynote speaker Lt. Col. (Ret.) Timothy Henderson and Lt. Col. Natosha Reed congratulate 2nd Lt. Simon Williams on his new commissioning. Reed is professor and chair of the Department of Aerospace Studies at Jackson State University. (Photo by Lt. Col. Jarreau Jones/JSU Air Force ROTC)


After a first salute, Reed provides the official commissioning document. (Photo by Lt. Col. Jarreau Jones/JSU Air Force ROTC)


Family members embrace Williams and participate in the ceremony by helping with the pinning. (Photo by Lt. Col. Jarreau Jones/JSU Air Force ROTC)

LA Warren NUByline2018

A new U.S. Air Force officer, who recently earned his computer engineering degree during commencement at Jackson State University, is preparing to take his leadership to the next level after being commissioned to second lieutenant on Thursday, Dec. 9. He received his bachelor’s the next day in the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center.

Simon Antony Williams of Ridgeland, Mississippi, began his training at JSU in 2017 as part of Air Force ROTC Detachment 006. He built a proud reputation as one known for his “quiet confidence and humility” as described by keynote speaker Lt. Col. (Ret.) Timothy Henderson, who was his former commander.

His current commander, Lt. Col. Natosha Reed, also heaped praise on Williams, describing the new officer as “one of those people you don’t want to quite let go because he’s a great cadet, a great person.”


Members of Williams’ cadre gather to congratulate him. (Photo by Lt. Col. Jarreau Jones/JSU Air Force ROTC)

Reed, professor and chair of the Department of Aerospace Studies, added, “I’ve seen you grow and embrace this journey. I’ve also seen you take others along with you on this journey and how you helped them become a better version of themselves – pushing them out of their comfort zone, offering them your mentorship, your guidance, your positive attitude. That’s what real leaders do.”

Meanwhile, Williams described his time with ROTC as “an adventure of learning about myself and people and learning to grow to operate around different people and being the person you need to be in your life.” In fact, his professional military career will be that of a developmental engineer with a specification in computer systems.

Williams shared the influence on his life by both commanders, past and present – Henderson for recognizing his character and potential leadership; and Reed for “supporting us, showing us what it’s like to be a leader, caring about people and supporting them through each and everything.”

The numerous praises for Williams is understandable when you review his other accomplishments that included past recognition for his outstanding leadership from Brig. Gen. Leslie Maher of the Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, and having been Cadet of the Year.

Williams also held numerous leadership positions such as commander of the Sixth Cadet Wing of Detachment 006. Also, he was a Du Bois-Harvey Honors College member and a fellow in JSU’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. As well, he served as the Arnold Air Society Squadron commander and dedicated more than 80 hours to Air Force ROTC Honor Guard in which he commanded.

Well aware of all of these accomplishments, keynote Henderson urged Williams to stay the course, stay humble, seek knowledge and wisdom from God, and trust in him.

Henderson’s other points:

  • Listen without being offended.
  • There will be many choices, but in any particular situation you only get one decision.
  • Refuse to be limited by what you know; always be willing to learn.
  • Self-centeredness and pride are the beginning of one’s demise.
  • No one owes you anything; you owe it to yourself to earn your way.
  • Current opportunities open the door to future opportunities.

Henderson wrapped up by advising Williams to “be the leader and the light this world needs.”

(For more information about this story, contact L.A. Warren, la.warren.news@jsums.edu)


JSU Air Force staff exhibits pride as their former cadet is promoted to second lieutenant. (Photo by Lt. Col. Jarreau Jones/JSU Air Force ROTC)