From the Air Force Academy to the White House
By 2nd Lt Enjoli Saunders
Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in all we do are the Air Force core values that all Airmen know and are expected to embrace. For U.S Air Force Col. Beloved, a senior advisor assigned to the Office of Performance and Budget, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President, Washington, D.C., these ethics have been instilled in him since he was child and only grew in importance when he began attending the Air Force Academy at age 17.
“These values were not new to me when I entered the academy,” said Beloved. “We have a young yet deep family connection to the Air Force. My father and my older sister both enlisted in the Air Force and, as a teenager, I intended to do the same.”
Born in Midwest America, after a couple childhood moves, his family settled in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. This is where his journey to a military career began. While Beloved had already settled on enlisting in the military after high school, his high school counselor encouraged him to apply for college scholarships and provided a catalog of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“This was game-changing!” exclaimed Beloved. “I immediately decided to pursue Academy admission, and while my father did not outright agree, he also did not oppose it. That small sliver of opportunity was all I needed to press ahead.”
Beloved was determined to make his dream come true, no matter what obstacles he faced. He studied hard, worked harder, and never gave up on his passion which led to earning a congressional nomination to the Air Force Academy. This chain of events set the tone and standard within his household. Two years later one of his younger sisters joined him at the Academy.
While the Academy was ultimately how Beloved began his military career, it was not his first personal experience with the military.
“The first uniform I wore was Army,” said Beloved. “I attended Marion Military Institute on a Falcon Foundation scholarship for one year prior to starting the Academy at age 16. As such, I’ve often tended to gravitate towards Army education as a complement to the Air Force-equivalent programs.”
Beloved recalls his “favorite learning experience,” when attending the Army War College Strategic Studies Program.
“My academic instructors were top-notch and extremely involved in our development and success as senior leaders,” said Beloved. “I’ve never had such tough and valuable feedback provided even when I received an A-plus grade on the writing assignments.”
Upon graduation from the Academy, he was eager and ready for his first mission.
“Following initial intelligence officer training, my first assignment as a second lieutenant was to the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan Air Base, South Korea, where the long-time motto has been ‘ready to fight tonight!’,” said Beloved. “I couldn’t have asked for a better first assignment.”
As his career progressed, being a first-generation officer in his family, he learned the value of mentors.
“My first two mentors emphasized to always be professional and helped me realize the critical importance of writing well,” expressed Beloved. “Others talked me off the ledge in times of frustration and showed me how to successfully navigate the system. Perhaps the most significant piece of advice I received was to stay focused and avoid being distracted by the bright and shiny penny.”
With this advice in his repertoire, he rose through the ranks holding various command and staff positions where he learned to thrive.
One of the positions that was very visible and effective was his role at the 326th Training Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
“I enjoyed working with Col. Beloved when he was my director of operations in the 326th Training Squadron,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Meghan Doherty, director of senior official inquiries, Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General Staff. “Col. Beloved is a principled officer of unwavering integrity and has a tireless work ethic. He cares deeply for the Air Force, its mission, and our Airmen. Col. Beloved is always working towards helping to bring out the best in the Airmen around him. He is humble, self-reflective, passionate, and a selfless servant-leader who works tirelessly for the mission and his Airmen.”
Success by some is measured by how quickly one can rise through the ranks and for others it is the people they have impacted and brought up with them along their journey. This is a concept Beloved has displayed throughout his career.
“(When) he went to Lackland one of the key points … was the aspect of how you take the leadership and pour that into others,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. “Not only was he working in this aspect supporting Airmen that wear our uniform but Airmen that wear uniforms from other nations with our allies and partners. That takes a special skill, a diplomatic skill which is why he is at the White House right now.”
Beloved often recites and lives by a quote from Ronald Reagan, “There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
As a foreign area officer, Beloved speaks Arabic, German, and Korean with varying degrees of ability.
“Beloved has earned the title of successful, not only because of his prestigious positions but as a trusted mentor, leader and friend,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Christina Mayo, a cyber operations officer assigned to the 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard. “He has created a legacy of excellence and honor that will live on for future Airmen and Soldiers to mimic.”
Some know Beloved as master of strategy and tactics, a leader who inspires loyalty and respect. He has earned countless honors and medals while assigned overseas in Germany and Korea, as well as deployments to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve.
“Being in the U.S. military means being part of an elite profession of arms,” said Beloved. “We all share a common bond, and we all take an Oath to protect and defend our country. The military will under-promise and overdeliver when we let it. Keep in mind that a career is broadly a marathon, rather than a sprint. There’s a time and place to sprint, most often on the battlefield, but never lose sight of the need to maintain harmony and balance over the long term. I’ve definitely surpassed my initial goals as a young officer but am reminded of past advice from General CQ Brown, Jr. to redefine success at each level.”