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Warriors of Camp Southern Ground

Stan Shuttleworth

Stan is a Warrior Week alum. Originally from Mississippi, Stan was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force at 22. This is his story.

“There is nothing more powerful than a humble person with a warrior spirit who is driven by a bigger purpose.” – Barbara Vercruysse

My early years I lived in the small town of Raymond, Mississippi, just outside of Jackson. My most formative years or where I really “grew up” were in Jackson, Tennessee, and that is where I actually call home.

In 1995, at the age of 22, I was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at Mississippi State University. My entire career was active-duty Air Force. I served for 21 years 2 months and 1 day… but who’s counting right?

I had a very unusual career. I started as a recruiter for a brief period at Florida State University. I then became a C-130 Navigator being the first Air Force ROTC cadet to attend joint training with the Navy at Pensacola NAS, Florida. I was then selected for pilot training and after that got my dream shot of flying the F-15E Strike Eagle. Flew that bird in the first 4 months of the Iraqi Invasion, and for 3 years after that. After a couple of stops, I became an Air Liaison Officer and member of the Tactical Air Control Party (TACP). I would spend the better part of the second half of my career with the TACP to include a combat tour and command of United States Air Forces in Europe Air Ground Operations School. Finally, I was in a pretty rare group as an airborne qualified fighter pilot.

I have always said that making the decision to leave the military was one of the easiest decisions I ever made, because when it was time, it was time. My transition out, however, was really difficult. I felt a bit lost. When I shed the uniform and the identity that came with it, I was adrift at sea… a bit of a rudderless ship. I tried several different things for income. I started several businesses which were all pretty successful, but I always felt like I was swimming against the current. It was far more challenging than I thought it would be for sure.

I am in a much better place now. I am in the process of starting a new job as a DoD Civilian and will be working with the military again in a training capacity. I am super excited for this opportunity to be back in a place with a mission and like-minded people. As for my time at Camp Southern Ground and Warrior Week, one word comes to mind… Transformative. The impact of my time at Camp Southern Ground cannot be understated. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but left with clarity, confidence, and a renewed energy moving forward. Having a better understanding of who I am and why I do things the way I do will help me to live with authenticity and be the best version of me as I take on this new chapter. Warrior Week was huge in giving me the confidence I need to be successful.

“Who you are is a gift.”

The biggest take away for me was that having the week free of any stressors or distractions allowed me to really dive deep in my journey towards authenticity. I was able to make more headway in this one week than I would have in years on my own. Big, big thanks to all involved.


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