In 2010, I had been joking with Trinnie that if I hit thirty and wasn’t with a child that I would finally join the military, as I’d been talking/dreaming about for some time. With no small children to care for, I had no excuses and nothing holding me back. After that day came and went, I started researching my options. The officer recruiter for the Navy Reserve shut me down quickly, for being too old with a non-technical degree. They discussed no other options, just a “thanks but no thanks.” Well fine, I’ll let my brother be the token sailor in our family. Then I called an officer recruiter for the Air Force Reserve, who told me that due to our area being saturated with prior service officers joining the reserve, it would be difficult for a non-prior service Airman like myself to find an available slot. Some reserve officers were traveling out of state for drill, just to pick up a slot. That wasn’t something I wanted to do. The suggestion was made that I enlist, put in a year of good time, then apply for the Deserving Airmen Program, which allows enlisted Airmen to make the switch [you still have to do OTS, though]. That seemed reasonable to me, and I didn’t mind working a little harder to achieve my end goal, especially if it bought me some street cred.
28 Jul 2011 – Top Honor Graduate
I linked up with a recruiter at my local base and began making arrangements to meet with her. In the meantime, I started a running program to prepare myself for what was to come. I was surprised at how quickly things moved. I was signed up for my ASVAB,
13 Sep 2011 – Distinguished Grad
It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year already, mainly because I’ve only been in training and permanent party status for the last eight months. There are still a few trainees from my flight and my brother’s flight that are still in tech school. These last eight months have challenged me beyond what I could’ve imagined. When they told us at BMT that this would be one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done in our lives, I thought they were exaggerating. I figured I had age, education, and life experience on my side. I was wrong, and I underestimated the undertaking. The blood, sweat, and tears I poured into becoming an Airman made the accomplishment that much sweeter.
If this first year is any indicator of the rest of my career, then bring it on! The sense of pride and accomplishment that I’ve felt has been worth any temporary feelings of pain or frustration. Since entering the Air Force, my dreams have changed. While I once thought the officer side was my end-all, be-all, a change of heart has to lead me to realign my goals with sights set on MTI school. It seems cliche, as a lot of Airmen claim to have the same dream when they’re still early in their careers, but I see it as a natural extension of my teaching career and a blending of my two passions. We’ll see where this journey takes me though!
I’m looking forward to growing in my career field over the course of my second year in the Air Force. I hope to make significant progress toward my CCAF degree, complete seasoning training, and complete a number of my on-the-job training requirements, if not all of them. My goal for the year is to achieve deployment readiness, in terms of my knowledge and skill level. My dream for the year would be to receive a quarterly award as an Airman.
Here’s to the next nineteen years! May they bring me as much success and fulfillment as the first has!