Diversity and the Air Force
By Airman 1st Class Melody Wolff, 319th Air Base Wing, Public Affairs
/ Published July 31, 2018
GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --
Service members come from all walks of life. Not a single service member is the same as another, considering each come from his or her own unique background. One of the most diverse group of service members is the one including those who come into the military from a different country seeking better opportunities.
Airman 1st Class Dovydas Sapkauskas, a 319th Contracting Flight contracting specialist, decided the benefits, education, and a chance to serve our country would be a positive opportunity.
Sapkauskas was born in Kaunas, Lithuania, where Lithuanian was his primary language,and lived there for six years before moving to the United States.
“Compared to Grand Forks, they are both very similar,” said Sapkauskas. “Just like Grand Forks, Kuanas is a smaller community and very rural.”
After waiting for the opportunity to come to the US, Sapkauskas continued his education and learned how to speak English. Sapkauskas said that because he was a minor at the time, he had to live in the US for seven years before attaining his citizenship at 14 years old.
Although Sapkauskas received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, he knew he had a higher goal set for himself.
After earning his bachelor’s degree, he set his sights on continuing his education with a master’s degree.
“Growing up, I knew I would eventually want a master’s degree in business,” said Sapkauskas.
Because of the long wait to commission as an officer, Sapkauskas said he felt enlisting was the right choice for him at the time.
“I decided to enlist and learn the business aspect of my job,” said Sapkauskas. “That is mostly what we do, which is customer service and business-related work.”
Sometimes, growing up in a different country can make it more challenging to make friends or excel in the work place. However, Sapkauskas is very social in the community and succeeds in his job.
Because of the adversities and challenges from getting a green card to come to US, Sapkauskas said that his hard work is attributed to the time when his family was able to come to the United States for the first time.
Not only does he apply that motivation to his job, he has obtained great people skills coming from a different country.
“Airman 1st Class Dovydas Sapkauskas is a highly motivated professional airman who is always on time and always gets the job done,” said Airman 1st Class Colton McNeel, a 319th Contracting Flight contracting specialist. “His willingness to help people is second to none, and he is a very uplifting and positive influence in our office.”
Although Sapkauskas found opportunities in the Air Force and enjoys his career field, he said his goals are set on finishing his master’s degree while enlisted, and then working as a civilian business owner.
Being a military member has been a beneficial experience for Sapkauskas. He has been able to gain experiences with business in his career field and also took steps toward his degree. Sapkauskas has also been noticed by his peers for his hard work and past life experiences coming from a different country. It is service members like Sapkauskas who make our military so great and diverse.
This is part one of a three-part series.