Technical Sergeant Devin Holmes is the principle enlisted advisor to the Staff Judge Advocate, Fifth Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base (AFB), North Dakota. He entered the Air Force in July 2008, and has since worked diligently to lead by example and inspire excellence through service and education. As a Pavement and Equipment Operator, Sergeant Holmes earned his first degree from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) in 2013. Acting upon his interest in military law, he applied to join the ranks of other legal professionals in The Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC). After being selected in 2018, Sergeant Holmes completed the Paralegal Apprentice Course as a Distinguished Graduate. His first paralegal assignment was to one of the military’s most austere locations--Minot AFB, North Dakota. There, he quickly mastered two of the legal office’s most complex domains: civil law and military justice. Amid his newfound technical expertise, Sergeant Holmes accomplished the extraordinary task of earning both his Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from CCAF, and his Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Ashford University. The local weather was not the only challenge he overcame on his journey—Sergeant Holmes managed significant professional and personal responsibilities along the way. Leading up to degree completion, a standard day for this young leader consisted of rising at 2:00 a.m. to go to the gym, reviewing Career Development Course material, accomplishing degree completion requirements, then completing a full day’s work. His early start was driven by sheer will to spend time with his family. The office demanded long hours each week, and weekends required total focus on school. Despite the tempo, Sergeant Holmes never let the schedule deter him. Instead he used it as motivation, resulting in recognition by the Numbered Air Force Staff Judge Advocate.
As a result of his demonstrated potential, diplomacy, mentorship and leadership abilities, Sergeant Holmes was selected to fill Minot’s Law Office Superintendent role, a key developmental position typically reserved for Senior Noncommissioned Officers. In that capacity, he is responsible for legal support impacting 4,000 military and civilian members, including dependents and retirees. He also leads a diverse 22-member staff, including 10 paralegals. As a craftsman, Sergeant Holmes is responsible for training the office’s six new paralegal accessions and guiding the team through legal and administrative challenges that would vex even the most seasoned leader. A catalyst for innovation and process improvement, Sergeant Holmes teamed with Minot First Sergeants to develop a new Family Care Plan Power of Attorney. This grassroots prototype streamlined existing requirements, and was approved by Headquarters Air Force in June 2019. With final action pending, the change is expected to benefit Air Force families around the globe. This innovative collaboration was only one effort that led to Minot’s recognition as Major Command Legal Office of the Year for 2018 and 2019. Though still early in Sergeant Holmes’ paralegal career, he is clearly worthy of recognition and has already left an indelible mark on the JAGC, the Air Force and the legal profession.
-Submitted by Ronald E. Frazier, Program Director, Paralegal Program, Community College of the Air Force