Challenge yourself, accomplish your dreams

Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Alexander Cook

Challenging yourself and accomplishing your dreams requires stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. For one Airman, applying for the United States Air Force Academy was a step in the right direction toward achieving his goals.

Airman 1st Class Ghamanpreet Ahluwalia, a weapons simulation technician assigned to the 309th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base, works alongside fighter pilots and aspires to become one himself.

“I don’t just want to fly, I want to be a fighter pilot,” Ahluwalia said. “I look up to them. Their morale, personalities and just having the opportunity to work around them makes me want to be one even more.”

At a young age, Ahluwalia lived in New York City with his family and wanted to make them proud.

“New York City is all about the hustle,” Ahluwalia said. “I think that’s where I got my work ethic from. I started to work a full-time job during my junior year in high school to constantly help my family out.”

Ahluwalia remembers who inspired him to work hard.

“My family was mostly my inspiration growing up,” Ahluwalia said. “I grew up in India living in poverty-like conditions and saw my parents struggle. That made me want to help them out and get them out of that situation.”

Determined to help his family and make them proud, Ahluwalia decided to join the Air Force.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the military, but never thought it would be the Air Force that it would ultimately come down to,” Ahluwalia said. “When senior year came around, I knew I had to get serious about the military if wanted to join.”

With his passion to fly, Ahluwalia looked at going through the Academy.

“When I first applied, I got rejected,” Ahluwalia said. “Then I looked at enlisting and joining through the Leaders Encouraging Development Program. I enlisted, applied, and got accepted less than a year later.”

Now focusing on the next portion of his Air Force career, Ahluwalia reflects on what has gotten him to this point.

“The biggest advice is to get outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself with new things,” Ahluwalia said. “I almost wanted to give up after failing the first time, but I kept pushing.”

In the near future, Ahluwalia leaves for Preparatory School for the Academy to continue his journey in becoming a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force.

“If I could impact the Air Force in some way, I would like to impact other Airmen by telling them to reach their goals even if it seems like a shot in the dark,” Ahluwalia said. “It’s better to fail at something you tried than to fail without trying.”