Upon his arrival to the U.S. as a 7-year-old from Jakarta, Indonesia, he spoke only a few words of English. Now this Pittsburgh-raised airman is a motivational speaker and example to his fellow service members. Where did he find his drive to succeed? From the power to kick over his head.
“How did I get here? I owe it all to taekwondo, my past instructors, my current military leadership and my team — including the government civilians and contractors I work with,” said Air Force Senior Airman Hardian Wicaksono, an imagery analyst in the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Analytic Integration directorate, Office of the Middle East and Southwest Asia. “Without the help of these people, I would not have enjoyed the successes I have. To say they have helped mold me into who I am would be an understatement.”
Consequences of Developing the Plan
Wicaksono started taekwondo, the martial art that combines self-defense and combat techniques with sport and exercise, when he was nine years old. He hasn’t stopped.
“Taekwondo is not just about throwing a kick — it’s about improving every aspect of yourself. My early focus on goal setting, being positive, earning respect and self-confidence has helped me get to where I am today,” said Wicaksono. “But it’s not just about helping yourself — it’s about helping others. That’s my passion.”
Wicaksono walks the talk not only through his primary duties at NGA as a subject matter expert on Middle East strategic issues, but also as a volunteer for the agency and greater military community. He’s the president of the Airmen of Distinction, an organization that serves 1,500 junior enlisted throughout the national capital region; the NGA Junior Enlisted Council’s public affairs officer where he promotes community service and morale events; a certified Air Force resiliency trainer; an Air Force physical training leader; and an active member in NGA’s joint service color guard.
On top of his aforementioned service, he’s also on call day and night as a certified sexual assault victim advocate. Wicaksono spent 412 hours in training and on call, which contributed to his receipt of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal in 2014. He recently co-organized a teddy bear donation event that collected over $1,000 in stuffed animals for Joint Base Anacostia–Bolling and Prince George’s Hospital Center to serve as a comfort items for those in crisis.
“We’re also in the process of setting up a self-defense course at NGA,” Wicaksono said. “My taekwondo background will definitely come
The focus of taekwondo on personal development and leadership skills complement Wicaksono’s military professional development and Air Force career aspirations, as exemplified by his selection for a below-the-zone promotion to senior airman, an honor that allowed him to be promoted six months early.
“He’s a hard charging airman that leads amongst his peers, said his supervisor, Air Force Staff Sgt. Thomas Small. “In fact, he won both the 2014 junior enlisted Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Award at the major command level and the 2014 junior enlisted NGA Annual Award. These awards recognize his work ethic at NGA and within the military and civilian communities."