Every Airman has a story to tell. However, not every Airman’s story involves them being an All-American athlete.
Originally from Illinois, Airman 1st Class Kyle Young, 607th Air Control Squadron cyber transport systems apprentice, developed an interest in swimming and building computers at a young age. He competed in swimming during middle school and high school, and his efforts eventually led him to receive a partial scholarship to Florida State University. It was there that he earned his title as an NCAA All-American.
“Being competitive is what got me there,” Young said. “It was always the right steps and right amount of competition to push me to the next level. You need to have the internal drive to achieve such an accomplishment, and I had that.”
His decision to study hard and train hard wasn’t in vain.
Young earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management information systems from FSU. He was also recognized as an All-Academic Team Member, Atlantic Coast Conference’s Most Valuable Swimmer, and placed 5th at the 2008 Olympic trials in the 1500-meter Freestyle.
“I had good coaching at the right points throughout that time,” Young said. “I also had enough internal motivation to get it done.”
Nevertheless, finding a job after college that used his degree was difficult for him. Young decided to revisit an opportunity he once considered in previous years – that of joining the U.S. Air Force. He enlisted to have a better chance of using his degree and working with computers.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with computers,” he said. “I would build them for fun, take them apart and put them back together. I wanted to use that knowledge in whatever area I worked in for the Air Force.”
Young is able to do that in the data shop. His job is to ensure the lines of communication between the F-16 fighter pilots and air traffic controllers are functioning properly. His shop controls the functionality of various tactical air operation modules (metal boxes that are approximately 24 x 8 feet) that hold various radio and computer equipment.
“We ensure all the pilots’ radio equipment works and their terminals and data connections are accurate during their flying missions,” Young said. “If they aren’t, our job is to fix it.”
Eventually the modules will be phased out to allow for more compact and modern equipment. Young is excited about that prospect but understands in the meantime the job still needs to be done.
“We have people that need to be trained, and the mission needs to be done,” he said.
Young’s passion for the mission and drive doesn’t go unnoticed by those he works with.
“Young is tenacious,” said Staff Sgt. Chrystopher Beck, 607th ACS CTS craftsman. “He doesn’t stop until the job is done. He’s done extraordinarily well in all areas including fitness, and he is a model to the squadron.”
For the future, Young plans to further his computer skills by obtaining two certifications, one in Cisco Certified Network Associate and the other in a security-based field.
“Young has an extremely bright future,” Beck said. “I think if he keeps going the way he is now and continues to keep himself in peak condition, he will go far.”