HomeNewsArticle Display

Keesler AFB NCO derives purpose from her heart

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jessica Player, Mathies NCO Academy director of education, takes time to give thanks inside the Larcher Chapel at Keesler Air Force Base Dec. 10, 2020. As a practicing Muslim, Player follows her faith to help strengthen her purpose. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Seth Haddix)

Senior Master Sgt. Jessica Player, Mathies Noncommissioned Officer Academy director of education, takes time to give thanks inside the Larcher Chapel at Keesler Air Force Base, Dec. 10, 2020. As a practicing Muslim, Player follows her faith to help strengthen her purpose. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Seth Haddix)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) --

“So many times, when I face adversity in my career, I would simply stop and think to myself ‘What would you do?’ That would be my compass and sound judgement on how to proceed. I love you Chief Master Sgt. Player.”

This was one of the last text messages that a close family member sent to Senior Master Sgt. Jessica Player before taking his own life.

Player, Mathies Noncommissioned Officer Academy director of education, began contemplating her purpose after losing her family member. Growing up in the small town of Greensboro, Alabama, separation and racism was no rarity to Player. After reminiscing of her days as the homecoming court in high school, Player didn’t identify as just the queen, but as the queen of color.

From thriving as a dorm chief as the youngest trainee in her flight during basic military training to exceeding as a Black, religious leader, Player has embraced being different.

“I have always had a hesitation,” Player said. “I’m Black, I’m a woman and I’m a Muslim. People question my religion when they realize I come from Alabama, but I believe in helping people, no matter race or religion.”

An inspiration such as religion provides Player a direction to follow. Knowing that she is different keeps her motivated to stay true to herself.

“Are my actions, decisions and behaviors pleasing in Allah’s eyes? At the end of the day, that is how I move,” Player said. “It is my job to spread his word without acting based on spirituality or religion. It is challenging sometimes, especially as a female. We need to focus on ourselves and not how others view us.”

Player is able to embody her persona with confidence. Being original is something she believes is important for not just herself, but others.

“I am a professional trouble maker,” Player said. “I am not afraid to stir up some good trouble. One of my favorite rappers, 2 Chainz, rapped about being a two dollar bill. I take that out of context and apply it to my people. Be a two dollar bill. Be rare. You cannot inspire people if you aren’t the real version of yourself.”

Although self-worth and confidence are the foundations of Player’s personal growth, it’s relaying her energy to those around her that fulfills her meaning.

“Perseverance makes you a good leader. Openness and being transparent with your people makes a great leader,” Player said. “When someone reaches out for help, they either want you to fix the problem, or feel it. When they want you to feel it, they want you to listen and be in the moment with them. When they want you to fix it, game on. I want my Airmen to show up and be the best version of themselves. Some days you won’t smile. Some days, you will cry. Some days will be joyful. Just remember to show up and be yourself.”

As the director of education and leader of diversity campaigns around Keesler Air Force Base, Player strives for change. She draws inspiration from not being the norm and inspires to teach others to embrace people who may be different from them.

“My goal is getting to the root of our problems together,” Player said. “Painful issues such as social injustice may be bigger than what we can do on base, but we apply actions and behaviors that we can take outside of those gates. We are all different, but when we understand each other, we can achieve our ultimate goal.”

Player was recently selected in 2020 to be one of five personnel to promote to the rank of chief master sergeant on Keesler AFB. She hopes to use her position to work as a team player and inspire the Airmen she leads.

“Even though my relative is not here with us anymore, he gives me hope,” Player said. “I hope Airmen can look at me and think ‘My goodness. If she can act like this in and out of uniform, so can I.’ We need to allow Airmen to be themselves. We put too much pressure on people to be perfect when perfect doesn’t exist.”

Dealing with challenges has allowed Player to become a better person and leader for the people she cares about most. She has found her purpose from within and flourished to impact the people around her.

“I didn’t have him call me,” Player said. “It is people like him that I vow to let know- Am I scared sometimes? Yes, I am always scared. But if you are a little vulnerable, I can help you with whatever I can, or if I can’t, I can find someone who can. I want to bring hope, knowing my journey, as well as inspiration and a voice. As their leader, it is my job to be their voice. Play on, Player. That is my motto. Whenever I feel defeated, I remember who I am.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @AETCommand: The @DoDEA approved Maxwell Elementary Middle School @MaxwellAFB as the first site for a four-year pilot program to open en…
Twitter
#Airmen and B-52 Stratofortress aircraft operating out of Morón Air Base, Spain, are demonstrating U.S. commitment… https://t.co/mVoSP7Rv9O
Twitter
The #AirForce Service Center launched a new website to serve as a single point of information for #Airmen,… https://t.co/k8VrbtpoP7
Twitter
RT @AFmuseum: Check out this view of the McDonnell XH-20 Little Henry, Bensen X-25A Gyrocopter and the American Helicopter Co. XH-26 Jet Je…
Twitter
.@AirNatlGuard #Airmen helped build Cherokee #veterans homes in Oklahoma as part of the @DeptofDefense's Innovative… https://t.co/9i0p5CgLER
Twitter
.@POTUS to #Airmen during his visit to @RAFMildenhall: "You’re the best of our country. Less than 1% of Americans… https://t.co/VlmUkvizpY
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: High energy lasers kill one target at a time, & high powered microwaves can kill groups or swarms, which is one reason that TH…
Twitter
Check out the latest #AirForce Week in Photos! Which one is your favorite? See the rest at https://t.co/PUTukgX3Qe https://t.co/bWyy06fZ3k
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: 10 cadets and midshipmen from the @WestPoint_USMA, the @NavalAcademy and the @AF_Academy visited @90thMissileWing as pa…
Twitter
#ABMS will deliver decision superiority to the @usairforce & @SpaceForceDoD. This is all-domain command and contr… https://t.co/52J0YQEQhn
Twitter
The 2-week training will focus on @GenCQBrownJr's #AccelerateChange Action Order C: Competition by dissecting the g… https://t.co/J97obvYz10
Twitter
Building on women’s hair updates announced in February 2021, beginning June 25 when hair is secured behind the head… https://t.co/kjocdaU8Co
Twitter
“When you look at the numbers, 500,000 is a lot of [#COVID19] vaccinations. That reflects every #Soldier and… https://t.co/0hDKneUwUU
Twitter
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is sponsoring a research project with the @WitchitaState's National Inst… https://t.co/r1SZzmLUGo
Twitter
.@NellisAFB recently hosted an #AirForce Weapons School Integration exercise that taught graduate-level instructor… https://t.co/sdRcG9Tqle
Twitter
Industry and government operators, engineers, and test professionals assessed the ability to do medical evacuation,… https://t.co/GosqQbx3Ac
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: As part of the @UTNationalGuard's state partnership with Morocco, @UtahAirGuard Airmen are taking part in African Lion 21…
Twitter
“This office is the first organization that will stand-up from an enterprise-wide perspective to address digital ne… https://t.co/94P7CNFxGj
Twitter
"Multi-capable #Airmen is a series of training events designed to engage Airmen in developing a combat skillset out… https://t.co/7b4VFMb9cm
Twitter
"I'm probably not the first to be qualified, but the first to have the opportunity." @GenCQBrownJr sat down with… https://t.co/vh14QdB6sp
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,630
Follow Us