OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — On an average day, I eat, sleep and breathe Air Force. My family is Air Force, my friends are Air Force, my coworkers are Air Force, my spouse is Air Force, I am Air Force. I bet there are a few skeptics out there who would say it’s unhealthy. But to me it is everything and has been everything for most of my life.
I was born one week before Halloween in 1986, on George Air Force Base, California. My mother was an airman 1st class working as an avionics communications systems specialist thousands of miles from home. Society would consider her a single mother, but she knew better. She had Wingmen all around her and they were her spouse, support system and caregivers, should she need one.
Obviously, I don’t remember that particular time in my life. But, as far back as I can remember, I knew we weren’t alone. We went on to live in Texas, Germany, England, Ohio, Virginia and back to England. I spent some time in Arkansas with my grandparents, then back to Virginia and then Hawaii, where my mother has since retired – poor lady.
You would think living in Hawaii in your late teens, early twenties, you would have nothing to complain about. But when my dependent ID was taken away the day I turned 21, it ripped a small hole in me and it only continued to grow. I had lost a large part of who I was, part of my identity. Not to mention, I was without healthcare, tax-free shopping and cheap gas. All my friends were either in the military, spouses or dependents, and they slowly began to disappear. I had taken some college courses and was making what I thought was pretty good money waitressing. But I knew I could do more.
I decided to join the military. I am not going to lie, I backed out once. My grandfather passed and I wasn’t ready to leave my mom alone, or maybe that was an excuse I used because I was scared. But when I finally got the nerve to go through with it, I knew it was going to be one of the best decisions I would ever make. I wasn’t wrong. I got everything I missed about the military back and then some.
I remember seeing my mom in uniform thinking I could never do what she does. She is among the best, the top two percent, a senior master sergeant, a superhero, and way stronger and way smarter than I could ever be. I still believe that to this day, but now I get to wear the uniform too and hopefully become a role model for my son.
Yesterday marked my seven year anniversary in the Air Force. I know that because I received a notification to start my Course 15. I wouldn’t have remembered otherwise and it’s not because I don’t care. I do care…a lot. But, the military keeps me busy with countless opportunities and amazing people; I rarely slow down to reflect on the time that has passed. If I did, it would only remind me time is going way too fast and my Air Force career will be over before I know it. When that time does come, I will probably do what my mom did. She seems to have the right idea about everything. I will continue to work for the military in a different capacity, as a civilian.
After all, the Air Force is in my blood, and I like it that way.