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Once an Airman’s son, now an Airman on his own

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Randall Bagtas II, a food services journeyman assigned to the 6th Force Support Squadron, moves a bread tray at Diner’s Reef dining facility at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 20, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Randall Bagtas II, a food services journeyman assigned to the 6th Force Support Squadron, moves a bread tray at Diner’s Reef dining facility at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 20, 2017. After graduating high school in 2015, Bagtas enlisted in the United States Air Force the following year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott C. Warner)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Randall Bagtas II, a food services journeyman assigned to the 6th Force Support Squadron, slices open a piece of bread at Diner’s Reef dining facility on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 20, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Randall Bagtas II, a food services journeyman assigned to the 6th Force Support Squadron, slices open a piece of bread at Diner’s Reef dining facility on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 20, 2017. Bagtas works at the sandwich station, which accommodates approximately 18,000 military service members and civilian personnel that visit the base each day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Scott C. Warner)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla --

Airman 1st Class Randall M. Bagtas, a food service journeyman assigned to the 6th Force Support Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, grew up with an example of what it takes to be a successful Airman.

His father, Senior Master Sgt. Randall I. Bagtas I, the superintendent of the sustainment flight with the 647th Force Support Squadron at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, is already established and has been successful in the same career field as his son.

“My dad has always been my role model,” said Bagtas.

When Bagtas was born, his father was only 18 years old at the time and he joined the Air Force to support his new family.

“He taught me accountability at a young age,” said Bagtas. “He always told me to get the things that you need to get done first, before the things I want to get done.”

As a result, Bagtas learned the meaning and power of setting priorities, however, joining the United States Air Force was never a priority growing up.

“I didn’t think about the military as an option until after high school,” said Bagtas.

In high school, Bagtas attended a Department of Defense Dependents School in Vicenza, Italy.

“I didn’t know what I wanted when I finished high school, but I knew what the military had to offer from watching my father,” said Bagtas. “I was comfortable with the military life and that made it easier for me to join.”

After he graduated high school in 2015, Bagtas spent a year trying to figure out the next step. He temporarily moved back home to South Carolina where he worked for a local construction company for a few months, but wasn’t content.

“I figured out that I didn’t want to work in construction for the rest of my life and thought the military would be a good place to start,” said Bagtas. “I told my dad that I wanted to join and he helped me take care of the rest.”

Before he knew it, he was in Basic Military Training (BMT) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for eight and a half weeks.

“BMT is really difficult for some, but to me, it was easy,” said Bagtas. “After that, I went to Fort Lee, Virginia for technical school for a quick month and now I am here.”

Bagtas already had a good idea of what to expect from the Air Force, but the 6th FSS didn’t fully know what they would get in return when Bagtas arrived to MacDill.

“Airman 1st Class Bagtas is very dependable and he never complains,” said Staff Sgt. Henderson, a food service accountant assigned to the 6th Force Support Squadron. “He’s just a good person and is definitely a leader for the newer Airmen.”

Henderson added that Bagtas constantly exceeds expectations and even volunteered to work during Hurricane Irma to load trucks with meals ready-to-eat until the base had to evacuate.

As for his Air Force future, Bagtas is undecided, but open to the possibility of following in his father’s footsteps.

“I definitely want to go to college and I am looking at colleges right now,” said Bagtas. “But who knows, I wouldn’t be surprised if I serve the full 20 years.”