Veteran Student Story – Mike Andrade

Redstone College  |  Paving the Way  |

Published in the May/June 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

Mike Andrade, a former senior airman in the Air Force, is a graduate of Redstone College’s Advanced Electronics Technology program and is currently enrolled in the A&P program. He carried out his main responsibilities in the Air Force as an aircraft guidance and control systems specialist. He performed line maintenance on flight guidance and instrumentation systems on 32 KC-10A aircraft – which are valued at over $1.4 billion.

Andrade’s military time paved the way for his success in college. “My experience in the military as an actual aircraft mechanic specializing in avionics helped prepare me for college,” he said. “When I began the Advanced Electronics Technology (AET) program at Redstone, the subject matter was familiar due to my military training and experience; therefore it felt like more of a review. This helped to refresh me on some elements while preparing for new subjects. Now that I have graduated the AET program, I feel better prepared for A&P.”

Redstone College offers technical degree programs including Airframe and Powerplant (A&P), Advanced Electronics Technology (Avionics), Wind Energy Technology, and Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning/Refrigeration (HVAC). Redstone is located in Broomfield, Colorado, a Denver suburb.

The Air Force lit a spark in Andrade. “Coming from a military background gave me the drive and motivation to be the best and obtain everything I can from my time in school,” he said. “I had the personal desire for a high GPA, excellent attendance, to obtain all certifications I qualify for, and to be a vital member of Team Redstone. Our team represented the college in an international competition involving 27 teams competing in various maintenance tasks.”

He offers a wealth of advice for servicemembers getting ready to leave the military. “I would advise you to keep an accurate resume containing the details and achievements of your military career along with your DD214,” Andrade said. “Also, try to ask a couple supervisors and co-workers to type up a letter of recommendation to help you with future prospective employers. And if you decide aircraft maintenance is your career path and you wish to pursue college, try to go as soon as you can from when you separate from the military. The knowledge and training you gain from the military will be fresh and not partially forgotten.”

Andrade said that servicemembers should not wait to further their education. “I would recommend that you begin post-military education ASAP,” he said. “I advise that you properly research the colleges and cities that you are interested in. I would also recommend you keep all of your records and do your homework with regard to what your military benefits will cover. I had 36 months of post-911 eligibility, so it’s covering both programs, and I will graduate as a master mechanic. Make sure you save money to relocate, and never wait until the last moment to accomplish paperwork or other critical relocation tasks. Don’t waste your education benefits.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers