JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —
Airman 1st Class Makayla Evans, 628th Air Base Wing Judge Advocate paralegal, raised her right hand to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, hopeful for a bright future but not entirely sure what to expect as a young Airman. She even took that oath a step further as a paralegal, tasking her with the responsibility to uphold justice for Airmen who defend it throughout the Air Force.
Evans began her military career as a paralegal at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., in the summer of 2020. She said one of her primary duties is managing Article 15s, also known as Non-Judicial-Punishments. An Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows for the commanding officer to decide the innocence or guilt of the offender, and the punishment, when a military member gets into trouble for a minor offense that does not require a judicial hearing. Additionally, an Article 15 provides an alternative to a court-martial, which is a jury consisting of military officers, warrant officers, or enlisted members depending upon the rank of the accused.
“I feel like the Air Force was the missing piece I needed in life,” said Evans. “I don’t know why I didn’t join sooner, although I’m grateful every day I did. I’ve had such a positive experience so far because of my team. I can easily say that my goal is to stay in for 20 years because of the impact they’ve had on me.”
Despite only being part of Team Charleston for less than half a year, Evans dove straight into her responsibilities with diligence and determination. Her dedication and hard work earned her an Airman of the Quarter, Paralegal of the Month and Paralegal of the Quarter award within her first few months working here. These awards are given to Airmen who exemplify excellence in all they do through their outstanding performances in their duties.
“Being fairly new to the military, I didn’t really know a lot about awards and how they were given out so it wasn’t something I was expecting to earn so early in my career,” said Evans. “I think I was chosen for these awards because my team truly believed in my capabilities and found numerous opportunities for me to excel and prove myself worthy of these recognitions. They have also put me in situations which have pushed me to improve both personally and professionally as a person and Airman, which I believe adds to that.”
According to the Air Force website, Air Force paralegals are highly trained to provide legal services and work in a wide range of legal practices, including criminal and civil law, international and operational law and legal assistance.
“My advice to anyone striving to grow and improve is simply to do what needs to be done as soon as possible,” said Evans. “It’s easy to procrastinate and tell yourself you can finish something the next day, but I’ve learned through working with Article 15s how important time management is and I think earning these awards directly pertains to the fact that I’m always getting things done when they need to be done.”
Evans said she feels incredibly lucky to be part of Team Charleston, as well as being part of her paralegal team. She said she’s grateful to be in the position she’s in and believes her awards go to her team as a whole. She also credits her accomplishments so far to her JA team and believes she couldn’t have done it without them.