Some Airmen have plans for what they would like to do once their contract ends with the military, to include finishing college, completing internships and pursuing other opportunities in life. Senior Airman Patrick Paul, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron customer service apprentice, chose to follow his childhood dream and pursue a basketball career.
Paul began playing organized basketball at age 8, and since then, he’s been practicing his skills and improving his overall awareness of basketball. By the time Paul reached his senior year in high school, he had a decision to make — either pursue his desire to play basketball in college or focus solely on getting an education. He decided on a third option. He joined the Air Force.
“I wanted a change in my life, so I decided to join the Air Force,” Paul said. “Coming from a small town in South Carolina, I never got a chance to experience anything new. Now being in the Air Force, I’ve had the chance to see the world and travel. Plus I will be able to continue my education.”
During his first year stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Paul’s coworkers suggested he play intramural basketball on the squadron team. Paul joined the team and led them to three championships in a row. He also broke the record for most points scored in a single game. Paul’s basketball skills didn’t go unnoticed, and he was offered a position on the Luke basketball travel team.
“Being a part of Luke’s basketball travel team is an experience I will never forget,” he said. “The farthest place we traveled to play was San Antonio, but we traveled to other places as well, such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego. We also played local college teams in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson.”
His playing time at Luke helped to improve his basketball skills.
“As I kept playing, I noticed improvements in my shooting average and overall playing ability,” he said. “Over the past six years playing at Luke, I’ve grown into a well-rounded basketball player.”
Although Paul has made many memories while on the Luke team, he is excited about the opportunity he has to pursue a future playing basketball for the Morris College Hornets in South Carolina.
“I will miss the camaraderie of the military,” Paul said. “The people I work with, plus my deployment, are definitely the highlights of my military career. The lessons I’ve learned will help me to be a better person and a better teammate.”
Being in the Air Force has helped prepare Paul for life outside the military.
“Paul is a very respectful and honest man,” said William Golart, 56th LRS material handler supervisor. “With the tools he’s gained during his Air Force career, I know he will do well with his future endeavors.”