Former Fairchild Airman serving in many ways: Student, cadet, reservist, athlete all-in-one

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Earlandez M. Young
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
His day starts off by getting his morning workout at the school's local gym. From there, he goes to his Aerospace Studies class, but this is only the start of his busy day which has become a normal routine to him. He then goes to school and afterwards attends football practice.
     After practice, he's tired from getting banged around but must press on to his final duty of the day, which is Leadership Lab - teaching him to become a leader in the United States Air Force.
     Too much for one individual right? Not for Cadet 3 Class Manny Lamson, Air Force ROTC, Detachment 905, who is a sophomore student at Washington State University majoring in movement studies, a member of their Air Force ROTC program, a football player for the WSU Cougars and also a Staff Sgt. in the Air Force Reserve, 446 Operations Support Flight at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
     Lamson is the only WSU Air Force ROTC cadet that plays football and one of the few cadets who play football in the nation.
     A little over a year ago, the 24-year-old cadet was an active duty Senior Airman here, where he was a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape instructor for four years.
     "After my fourth year in the military, I wanted to attend college to get my degree and play football," said Lamson. "A lot of guys who I worked with at Fairchild had college experience, so I learned from them what college was like. I started searching for colleges where I could see myself doing those things, but I also wanted to attend a school that had an Air Force ROTC program because I still wanted to be in contact with the military."
     Lamson said after narrowing down his school of choice and talking with his parents, he decided to apply at WSU.
     He was accepted but couldn't play his dream sport until after his freshman year in the spring because he wasn't a prior student.
     During his freshman year, Lamson immediately started the Air Force ROTC program. He also played rugby his entire first year to stay in shape. Spring came, and Lamson went to football tryouts with confidence. Lamson made the team and earned the position as a WSU running back.
     "I thought it would be different as a walk-on player since I didn't have a scholarship," said Lamson. "The first day I met my teammates they brought me in with open arms."
     Lamson said other WSU players often approach him asking about his prior military experience, and the tables have turned from him being the youngest SERE instructor to him being the second oldest person on the team. 
     Cadet 2nd Lt. Patrick Cornwell, AFROTC, Det. 905, who is a junior at WSU, said Lamson is definitely a leader and someone who the cadets turn to for leadership.
     "He's the only cadet who has military experience, so we tend to ask him questions about the Air Force," said Cornwell. "We're always going to the games, screaming his name and supporting him anyway we can because he's truly a hard worker and someone to look up to."
     Lamson said his workload in his sophomore year has been extremely busy and at the same time an exciting adventure, but he knows if he gets to a point where he's too busy he must complete his main goal as a cadet.
     "Since Cadet Lamson joined Air Force ROTC, he has begun to grow his leadership skills and potential to serve in the Air Force as a commissioned officer," said Capt. Paul Brewer, Cadet and Operations Flight Commander, AFROTC Det 905.