NAVAL AIR STATION FORT WORTH JOINT RESERVE BASE, Texas --
Growing up in New York City, a boy can easily choose a path where his footprints fade, but one chose to leave a lasting impression.
As a child, Col. Lloyd Terry, special assistant and cyber operations advisor to the Tenth Air Force commander, stayed busy with school, gymnastics, photography and music.
Something completely different than these hobbies would fuel his decades-long career.
“I always loved airplanes and aviation,” Terry said. “I saw the moon landing. That was the Air Force to me, airplanes, aviation, space…that was it.”
Terry began his career by joining the Reserve Officers’ Training Corp at Embry-Riddle University.
“My initial dream was to be a navigator because I didn’t have the eyesight to be a pilot, but I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag,” Terry said. “So from there, I became a computer programing officer and eventually a communications officer.”
Becoming an officer was the beginning of a career that would take him to a variety of assignments, which includes flying on the Strategic Air Command’s Airborne Command Post (Looking Glass), U.S. Central Command, Special Operations Command Central and as an in-residence SDE student at the United States Naval War College
While these assignments stick out in his memory, there’s one that stands above the rest.
Standing up the 960th Cyberspace Operations Group, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, the first of its kind in the Air Force Reserve Command, is the biggest highlight, he said.
“A lot of times as military staff, you start a lot of things, but you never see them come to fruition,” he said. “So I can say I’ve actually gone out the door, taken a project, put it boots on the ground and got it to the point it could walk. I did that from inception. It was a concept and I made it come true. Not a lot of people get to do that and that’s pretty cool.”
There are three key lessons Terry learned from standing up the 960th CyOG.
“The first is flexibility-a lot of times you want things a certain way and it’s just not that way,” he said. “So you have to be flexible in order to get it done. Second, listen to those below you and listen to those above you. Third, be accountable for your actions…If you do great, be accountable for it. If you mess up, be accountable for it.”
After leaving the 960th CyOG, Terry began his current role at the numbered air force (NAF). Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee, 10th AF commander, shares how Terry contributes to the NAF.
“…By bringing Col. Terry to the headquarters, we gained a foundational knowledge base when it comes to Cyberspace operations. This is critical for our headquarters because cyberspace is becoming critical to every aspect of military operations. I like to think of Col. Terry as the “Billy Mitchell” of Cyber!”
Being the cyber operations advisor is only half of Terry’s job. The other is participating in the commander directed compliance assessment program. This is where a team of specialists goes out to all wings under 10th AF and assesses their readiness.
“Having members of the headquarters staff go out and look at our units’ programs gives them feedback and also helps me focus our resources to ensure the readiness of the command,” Gen. Scobee said.
As a leader, Terry encourages young people to get an education.
“Education can get you out of anywhere,” he said. “I don’t care how bad it is…Even if you are in the most desperate situation. You’ll have something nobody can take from you, you’ll have the education and knowledge and that will always be with you.”
The second thing he advises youth to do is to never quit.
“Never accept defeat, he said. Don’t become complacent. Always strive to be the best you can be. If that role model is not there, ask a teacher, ask an older person.”
When it comes to Terry leaving a lasting impression through in career, he has two goals.
“To have been a good leader and to ensure the Air Force Reserve has a firm foothold within the cyber domain,” he said. “People say when you are in [the military], it’s a calling. So, it was a calling to me. I followed my calling.”