The U.S. Air Force has been a stepping stone for many Airmen. Some people join the Air Force to travel the world while others join for the money and medical benefits. Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Straight, 56th Medical Group aerospace medical technician, had a different mindset before committing her life to the Air Force.
Straight worked a full-time job while also going to school full time. The ongoing repetitiveness caused her to seek a change in her life, hence signing up for the military.
“The college life wasn’t for me,” Straight said. “I knew it was time for a change. My granddad said I should look into the Air Force but I wasn’t too sure about it. Once I got the chance to speak with a recruiter, he convinced me to sign up.”
Straight is from a family full of military history. Almost all of her family has served in the military at one point, but she is making history within her family.
“I am the first female out of six generations to sign up in the military,” Straight said. “I’m also the first one to sign up in the Air Force. Mostly all of my family members served in the Navy.”
For Straight it was a lifestyle she had to adjust to. She signed up to be a physician’s assistant, but that job wasn’t available at the time, so the Air Force placed her as a medical technician.
“It wasn’t the job I originally wanted, but I’m glad I’m still in the medical field,” Straight said. “My goal is to be a physician’s assistant one day, so I will use this as a stepping stone to reach my goal. I’m a certified emergency medical technician, so I can work in a lot of places if needed.”
Straight’s time in the Air Force has been one of commitment to the job. Along the way, she’s also been winning awards. From being Combat Medic of the Month, Airman of the Quarter and being submitted for nomination to below-the-zone, Straight is hoping to make a full career in the Air Force.
“My goal is to stay in 20-plus years,” she said. “I will use my time in the Air Force to apply for the inter-service physician assistant program, which is a program to train Airmen to become physician assistants. If I’m selected I will be commissioned and fully trained as a physician assistant.”
During her two years of service, Straight has had many moments that she will remember for life.
“I was on the field holding the flag during the Pro Bowl, which was an amazing experience,” she said. “To be able to see all the NFL players and coaches was something I won’t forget. “
The switch from civilian life to a military lifestyle isn’t an easy move, according to Straight.
“It requires many long hours and dedication from Airmen, but the experience gained is something you can’t get outside the military,” she said. “I hope to receive more opportunities and will continue striving in my career. “
“The Air Force does their best to give you the experiences you need to get you where you want to be,” she said. “The opportunities that you receive while you’re in are endless, and I hope to continue on the path that I’m on now.”
For Tech. Sgt. Jesus Martinez-Ortiz, 56th Medical Operations Squadron pediatrics NCO in charge, and Straight’s supervisor, he sees her going all the way in the Air Force.
“Airmen Straight was born to be in the military,” he said. “Her work ethic, attention to detail, willingness to step into new challenges, and can-do attitude exemplify what being an Airman in the United States Air Force is all about.”