Motivated By Duty

By Bob Grimson
October 29, 2014

When he was a junior at Bradley, Matt Olivero ’14 decided his future lay in the clouds. “That was when I decided to go Air Force, and I just made it happen,” said the mechanical engineering major who attended officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama a month after graduation.

He currently (as of October 2014) is a second lieutenant scheduled for flight training as a combat systems officer in March. His goal is to fly in MC-130 special mission aircraft. “They work with special operations and Special Forces,” Olivero noted.

The Peru, Illinois, native has a family legacy of Air Force service, following two grandfathers and two uncles. A younger brother is currently in Air Force ROTC at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. But, there was another factor in Olivero’s decision. 

“The biggest motivator was duty to my country,” he said. “I feel this country gave me many opportunities, and it’s my duty to give back.”

While a student, Olivero was involved with the Activities Council of Bradley University (ACBU) and Theta Chi. He also worked three years for Kim Green ’96, University planning supervisor and sustainability coordinator. “She was amazing,” he commented. “Organization was the big thing I learned from Kim, and that carried right over to the Air Force. Being able to see all the buildings go up — the beauty of everything — that was awesome. Bradley definitely opened my eyes to see beyond  being an engineer. I have too many good memories.”

Olivero said he also brought with him to the Air Force the lessons in teamwork and leadership he learned from his senior engineering projects. “We had a lot of exercises in officer training that were team oriented,” he explained. 

Obligated for eight years of service, with at least six of those on active duty, Olivero said it is common in the Air Force to find people with whom you have mutual friends from other bases and duty stations. “The Air Force basically is a big family,” he noted. “I think I made a good choice moving from the Bradley family to the Air Force family.”