Since leaving Georgetown, United States Air Force Captain DeShantell Singleton has done pretty well for herself.
Starting out in JROTC at Choppee High School before Choppee and Pleasant Hill High combined to form Carvers Bay High (where she was a member of the first graduating class), it was just the beginning of an impressive military career.
Singleton later graduated from the University of South Carolina and also from North Carolina Central University School of Law in May 2018. She was admitted to the South Carolina Bar Association in Nov. 2018.
Singleton received a direct commission to serve as an officer in the Air Force and entered active duty on April 1, 2019 and also graduated JAG (Judge Advocate General’s) School on Sept. 20, 2019.
She is currently stationed in Anchorage, Alaska and was promoted to captain when Staff Judge Advocate, Col. Lance Aiumopas, pinned on her captain bars on Dec. 23, 2019 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
On top of all that, Singleton has also served in the United States Peace Corps.
However, Singleton didn’t always picture herself having this type of military career.
“It’s not how I planned it to a T when a started off my career,” she said. “Filmmaking and acting were my passion.”
Singleton credits the support of her family and friends for helping her get this far.
“If you don’t have a good support system, you may not be able to get through successfully,” she said.
Singleton considers completing officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama her biggest accomplishment thus far.
“It’s not exactly like basic training,” she said. “It’s very intense. I never had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to go outside and do PT (physical training). But there’s a reason for everything in the military. I never had to experience sharing a room with three other women. I had to look just like them and keep up a professional appearance.
“At 36, a grown woman having to endure all that was a challenge,” she said. “It was my greatest achievement because I haven’t been in the military that long. I got through it by the grace of God.”
Singleton still has a lot more she wants to accomplish.
“My short term goal is to get more comfortable with the Air Force culture for right now,” she said. “I want to learn as much as I can. It’s a unique career field. People graduate from law school and join a law firm, but to join the military after law school is unique. It offers an attorney opportunities to grow in the legal field. You can touch environmental law to operations law to labor law. In a civilian world, you’re limited. I aim to learn as much as possible and I have the opportunity to do so in this career field.”
Singleton also wants to do as much as she can to help Georgetown youth.
“I want to inspire them not (necessarily) to join the military or become an attorney, but dare them to try something outside of their comfort zone,” she said.
That’s why Singleton started a group in 2012 called Alumni in Action.
“I go back to the old high school (Carvers Bay) and others come along to talk to the youth to share our experiences to be that source of network and help them out with whatever career decision they make,” she said. “We’re fortunate enough to do it almost every year. It’s an important time because it’s the 20th anniversary of the first graduating class (of Carvers Bay) and I plan to go back for our best day of service and have more participation from alums from Choppee High, Pleasant Hill and Carvers Bay.”
Singleton stressed the importance of being there in person to help people.
“It’s good to give money and material things,” she said. “But I learned through experiences that our most valuable resource is us. People and time are worth more than money and materials. It has a lasting effect.”
Singleton thanks Marlo Frazier, a teacher at the Academy for Technology and Academics in Conway, for teaching her so much about giving back to the community and being a good person.
“I had the same mentor throughout my teenage years,” Singleton said. “She guided me through important parts of my life. She taught me what’s so important about volunteerism and being a mentor.”