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Erlin Bell

“He who is not courageous enough to take risk will accomplish nothing in life”

Being in a military family caused Erlin Bell, 37, to experience numerous changes of addresses. Erlin’s father, a veteran of the USAF, along with his mother, held the family of three sons and one daughter together. 

Erlin recounts vivid memories of growing up with is dad, “I remember my father sitting me in various aircraft cockpits while sharing knowledge of aircraft instruments and placing my hands on controls, sitting on my father’s shoulders at airshows as jets fly by, and the days running around the Operations Group while wearing his Dress Blue hat and eating Ritz crackers at his squadron desk.”

Erlin’s mother also heavily impacted his childhood. “My mother, as the choose professional of a Nurse, she has always highlighted the importance of self-perception. Understanding my mother’s journey to meeting my father and the decision made that values family over career. She did not tolerate non-sense as self-awareness within the present environment is paramount.“

Moving from location to another throughout his younger years, Erlin was blessed enough to have teachers that helped him adjust. In first grade, his teacher would conduct home visits with all her students to build interpersonal relationship with parents of classroom students. “I learned later she helped to build confidence as she understood how difficult it was for military children to integrate as we often move without really creating friendships.”

His string of teachers that assisted his social adjustment continued even through high school years. Through his high school years, his AFJROTC instructor was instrumental. “Not only a teacher but he treated us as family (like a loving uncle) who always would make the time for us, to have conversation about life, family, and how African American men should carry themselves in the world as a many of us entered the U.S. Armed Services either upon high school graduation or later in life.”

An experience as Erlin entered college would help to jumpstart a passion to succeed. “My freshman year (2003) at Louisiana Technical University, I had an Aviation professor who is veteran of the U.S. Armed Services suggested that I attend an HBCU with an aviation program as a “easier path” for understanding and completion of an aviation degree. I didn’t understand fully what was stated to me, but I did ask my father what just took place.”

“My father informed me, “There are a lot of idiots in the world, and you just met one”. He went on to tell me the story of my uncle who went through the very same issue at an PWI. My uncle went onto use it as motivation and became an Aeronautical Engineer for NASA working during the Shuttle years.”

“Years later in 2013, I was accepted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide while an active member of the Air National Guard. Four years later, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics and a Minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems. Five years later (2022), I completed my Master of Science in Unmanned Systems and a specialization in Space Systems/Operations. My motivation was to graduate from the number one Aviation University in the world.”

“I currently possess five degrees, three certificates, aeronautical ratings, and a quadruplet professional career centered around Aviation at all levels of Earth’s atmosphere stratification.”

Erlin values integrity, domination, and self-reliance. “Whatever you decide to get involved with that will elevate your life, give your all and stay strong. There are those youth in the next generation counting on it.”

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