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ARPC NCO commissioned as first lieutenant

1st Lt. Iris Morales, Medical Service Corps officer and former Air Reserve Personnel Center contact center noncommissioned officer, is administered the Oath of Office by Col. Pat Hayes, ARPC Total Force Service Center director, during a commissioning ceremony held Jan. 30, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett)

1st Lt. Iris Morales, Medical Service Corps officer and former Air Reserve Personnel Center contact center noncommissioned officer, is administered the Oath of Office by Col. Pat Hayes, ARPC Total Force Service Center director, during a commissioning ceremony held Jan. 30, 2015, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Rob Hazelett)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A staff sergeant from the Air Reserve Personnel Center commissioned as a first lieutenant into the Medical Service Corps of the U.S. Air Force during a ceremony here Jan. 30, 2015.

1st Lt. Iris Morales received notification that her package had been approved by the Surgeon General in December 2014. Morales will relinquish her active Guard and Reserve position here and return to the traditional Reserve as a Health Services Administrator assigned to the 452nd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, March Air Reserve Base, California.

Morales, a native of Chicago, said she commissioned as a first lieutenant because she was able to apply prior service and education toward credible service as a gain into the MSC.

She described how it felt to be commissioned.

"This means resiliency, dedication and persistence, accountability and responsibility to self," she said. "I will be the first commissioned officer in my family."

Maj. Ryan Avery, Total Force Service Center-Denver Operations chief, said it was great to see Morales accomplish her goal.

"It has been a long, difficult road, but true to her personality and make-up, she stayed the course to follow her dream and make it a reality despite all of the challenges," Avery said. "The ARPC family and the Air Force are proud to have 1st Lt. (Iris) Morales as a commissioned officer. She has great things in her future and I look forward to watching her career blossom."

As a civilian, Morales, is a health administrator at a large tertiary hospital in Miami where she also owns a real estate investment company and is a team expansion director for a travel company.

She enlisted in the Air Force in February 2009 and arrived at ARPC in March 2010.

Although Morales said she knew she'd work on a commission - her journey included actively working on her commission for two years - she's never forgotten why she joined the Air Force.

"I joined with the intent of blending my civilian hospital experience and education while serving the Armed Forces. The Air Force has always been an obvious choice," She said.

Ramon Roldan, ARPC transition division chief, said Morales' commissioning is a great moment, not only for her, the enlisted force and ARPC, but the Air Force Reserve itself.

"I am really happy and excited to see her put the same effort, drive and determination in her new journey as she did during her enlisted time," he said.

Roldan, who was once Morales' supervisor, recalled the way she tackled any task and said she never failed to amaze him.

"She always gave 110 percent," Roldan said. "Be it on the phones as a contact center agent, honor guard detail or any community or unit event. She is a very intelligent and articulate person with a will to complete any undertaking to the next level."

Morales has a bachelor's in Health Services Administration, a master's in Health Services Administration and is five classes short of her second master's degree in International Business Administration.

Morales said she'll miss both the diversity among the ARPC workforce and the type of work being performed here daily.

She offered some advice to her fellow Airmen who consider commissioning.

"You are accountable for your career, stay on top of it," she said. "Poke those individuals involved, if you need to. It's important to always, always help direct your own future."

For her colleagues at ARPC, she leaves a quote from the French writer, Voltaire, "Judge a man by his questions, rather than by his answers."

During her spare time, her hobbies include all areas of personal development; webinars, educational courses, and conferences. She enjoys working out, dancing, painting and is currently learning how to ride a motorcycle.