NDA Graduate Susan Limberg Serving in Air Force, Chosen for Ms. Veteran America Competition


Adison Karbon, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

 Susan Limberg, Class of 2011, is living large as a Captain Select in the United States Air Force. She will be promoting to a Captain in July while currently serving as a 1st Lieutenant at Tinker Force Base in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In May she will have been on active duty in the Air Force for four years. Last month she became a contestant in the Ms. Veteran America competition.

To prepare for her service, Limberg attended Norwich University, “a special school for a number of reasons, but what they pride themselves on is being a Senior Military College and the birthplace of ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps).”

She was drawn to Norwich because it sounded like a challenge, but also she liked the idea of “trying” the military through the University’s Corps of Cadets without having to commit to the military immediately out of college. A student or “cadet” can sign a contract declaring they’ll commit to the military for a specified amount of time.

She also was a member of the honors program and obtained a B.S.Degree in Civil Engineering with minors in Construction Management and Leadership Studies. She also studied “Air Force” in preparation.

She is currently working towards an M.S. Degree in Organizational Leadership “with a concentration in Public Sector/Government/Military Leadership-also through Norwich University.”

When in the Corps of Cadets at Norwich, she was required to pick a branch to study, and being a first generation member of the military, she sought advice from family friends on which branch to include. At this point she did not know she wanted to join the military.

The Air Force was known as the hardest to achieve, and that was her deciding fact.

While a student, she met many amazing people who were already commited to one of the branches (this is referred to as commission).

“I was excited about the idea of maintaining such great friendships and continuing to meet inspirational and genuine people,” she said. “This was a big nudge for me.”

Her second deciding factor was the confidence and support she received from the Air Force ROTC staff.

“After my freshman year, one of the Sergeants told me that with my straight A’s in a technical field of study (Civil Engineering), I would be highly likely to pick up a scholarship if I decided to commission,” she said. “With this information, I did decide to pursue a commission.”

“I was hand-selected by the ROTC commander, a colonel, to receive a full-ride scholarship for my next three years at the University,” she said. “I attribute much of my successes to him because he believed in me and my ability to lead at a pivotal time in my life.”

Less than a month ago, Limberg discovered the Ms. Veteran America competition.

“Honestly, I discovered it while researching female comaraderie groups in the military and was instantly motivated to maneuver my research along another path–a path that I have been passionate about for years: fighting homelessness,” she said.

This passion actually began during her years at NDA and when she saw this opportunity, she decided to pour herself into this project.

Each year, hundreds of military women request an application, with a small amount becoming semi-finalists who go on to audition.

After meeting the many requirements, “the advocacy portion begins.”

All contestants have to make Facebook and Twitter accounts designed for the competition, along with a Crowdrise account for raising funds for Final Salute Inc. Final Salute is the sole benefactor of the competition and helps support homeless veteran women by providing assistance to them and their children, as well as helping them establish independence.  

“It is estimated that there are 55,000 homeless women veterans in the United States on any given day,” Limberg said. “Ms. Veteran America and Final Salute Inc. combine forces to spread awareness and to make a difference in the lives of these women who deserve so much more than what the world has given them as repayment for their service to our great country.”

The semi-final competition, which is closed to the public, will be held this year June 22-23 in Las Vegas at the University of Las Vegas Nevada. The top 25 woman will compete on Halloween in Hollywood at Lowes Hollywood Hotel. These finals are open to the public.

If she is the winner, she hopes to use the backing to promote activities for repairing and building homes for women in need and “continuing to campaign for the necessary funds to make a difference.”

Other than this competition, which is very time consuming, Limberg volunteers for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, where she stocks, packages, and sorts food for local families in need.

“I really love my time there and it feels great to do something for others, even in a small way.”

She has also worked with Habitat for Humanity in the past. “I adore their mission and what they are able to accomplish,” she said.

“There are many levels of need, but even if I am only able to reach one fellow female veteran, that would be one less woman who fits into the atrocious statistic of homeless women veterans in the United States,” she said.

On top of all this, her main job is as an Air Battle Manager, working in the specialty position of an air weapons officer.

“The best way to describe what I do is to say that I act as a combat air traffic controller that works from an airplane instead of a control tower,” she said.

She also is the Deputy Chief for her squadron’s Mobility Shop where she keeps track of her unit’s deployments and readiness status and supervises the enlisted airmen in the Shop. She also tries to make “coming into work a little more fun.”

In fifteen years, she sees herself still serving in the Air Force and building her leadership.

“Where the Air Force will put me geographically or what exactly I will be doing at that time is unknown, but I knew early on into my career that I love serving, and I cannot see myself doing anything else,” said Limberg.