Remembering back to that fateful day in 2001, I came to know that morning in September would become a very important day for many, as well as historic. It was a day for making plans, a day for going to school and to work. It was a beginning for our country and a day that would serve as the end of an era in the U.S. For the first time in six decades, the U.S. had been attacked on its own soil — the last being the attack on Pearl Harbor.
That day, Sept. 11, I decided that I would make it a goal to serve my country, pursue something greater than myself and better understand this world, to combat the forces that would seek to do harm and attempt to destroy this nation, its citizens and our way of life.
My father was a great role model who served in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne Division in Vietnam and later became a firefighter specialist and arson investigator with Los Angeles County Fire Department. I decided to get my education first. After a few years in and out of community college, I found a degree program designed and geared toward the very career I desired in security and intelligence. Beginning in 2006, I attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., to start my bachelor’s degree. I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Global Security & Intelligence Studies. The following fall, I entered American Military University to begin my Masters Degree program. In August of 2011, I graduated with a Master of Arts in National Security Studies with a concentration in Terrorism Studies.
My road to the Air Force began as early as 2009 when I tried to apply to become an officer. Unable to attain a slot, I decided to continue my education in my Masters program. I attempted to try again in 2010, but again the answer was the same. Finally, in late 2011, I decided to begin the process towards enlistment. What I wanted more than a commission, was a chance to serve, to attain a security clearance which would allow me to further my career in the security and intelligence field, and to gain experience from an Airman’s perspective prior to taking on the task of leading Airmen.
Reflecting back on the images of September 11, I remember focusing on what my father told me almost a decade prior to the attacks. Knowing that terrorism would likely be the threat of the future, I held close to what history had taught me and what current events were making headlines. I grew up around the firehouse, fully expecting that I would grow up to be just like my Dad. When he became an investigator, it was exposure to his job that lured me towards law enforcement and intelligence.
It was the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that spurred my decision to go into intelligence and security.