Des Moines, Iowa --
Tech. Sgt. David Heckman, a member of the 132d Wing’s Intelligence Squadron, recently graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in construction engineering. He did it debt free with the help of the Iowa Air National Guard.
The Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship (INGSS) provides annual awards to Guard members who attend eligible Iowa colleges and universities. The awarded amount in the 2020-21 school year was 100% of the state tuition, nearly $9,000.* Heckman was able to take advantage of this scholarship at ISU during his attendance, graduating December 2020, relatively debt free.
“While the Guard paid 100% of my tuition, the other fees and living expenses were on me, which I used my G.I. Bill for rent and fees,” said Heckman.
The G.I. Bill is a monthly payment of about $350. Some career fields, including Heckman’s, are eligible for a “kicker” which amounts to an extra $350 a month. This monthly payment can be used for living expenses, college books, and other fees related to attending college.
In the civilian world, Heckman now works as a project engineer for Kiewit, a general contracting company in Omaha, Nebraska. His job includes scheduling, budgeting, overlooking construction drawings, ordering supplies and working with the architect and owners.
Heckman’s position as a 132d IS analyst allows him to work with satellite imagery to create target packages. However, he also assists in other missions, working with other commands and government agencies such as CIA and FBI. Heckman’s position has also gained him a security clearance which can transfer out when he leaves the guard, opening doors in the civilian world.
“We’ve helped support the Southwest Border Mission, which is assisting customs and border control,” said Heckman. “Just having the word ‘analyst’ behind our title really opens up the possibilities of the things we can do.”
Heckman said the communication and problem solving skills from his career in intelligence are beneficial when it comes to his civilian career.
“When doing engineering work you have to have that problem solving mindset, with intelligence there’s an analytical process, you’ve got a way to walk yourself through the problem,” said Heckman. “It overall changes your mindset of how you go about solving issues; that’s definitely helped me in the civilian world.”
*Information pulled from the Iowa College Aid’s Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship website.