Before heading off to boot camp I was able to talk to a female military candidate about her decision to join the Air Force. I loved hearing the story of her why and how she thought her life might change as a result of being in the military.
Why did you decide to join the Air Force?
I am joining the Air Force primarily because I am tired of riding the merry-go-round of college. I would throw my heart and soul into one career choice after another, but never found something that resonated with me. Additionally, I wanted to carry on the family legacy, as my grandfather and father served in the Air Force.
What do you hope to learn from joining the military?
By joining the military, I simply hope to become a better version of myself, so I can better serve those around me. I would like to learn what it takes to run a high-risk operation. I am eager to get a firsthand perspective on government issues and military structure. I’m looking forward to working alongside servicemembers from other branches and a better understanding of what ‘sacrifice’ truly means. I would also like to become competent at handling firearms and highly disciplined in my career.
What do you think military life will be like?
I fully expect my world to be shaken upside-down and flipped inside-out at first. Going in enlisted, without knowing anyone will be a challenge. However, I hope to find a comfortable routine as time goes on- with the exceptional deployment. As in any career field, I know I will meet people who encourage me and people who discourage me. Depending on my job assignment.
What career field did you pick and why?
I am passionate to communicate the interests of the Air Force as a Broadcast Journalist via radio and television! To explain why I chose this career field, I will briefly highlight my past five jobs. As a former Nursing Assistant, I have proven myself trustworthy to safeguard confidential information. I am strong, yet humble, and cheerfully embrace hard work. As a restaurant hostess, I am outstanding at establishing relationships with people of nearly all ages, race, and cultures. I’ve become proficient at record documentation as a librarian assistant. I have also learned to remain calm under pressure and time constraints as a customer service representative. My approachable demeanor and ability to ask riveting questions frequently reveal stories hidden behind the scenes. Yet, I also know the value of active listening. For these reasons and many more, I am thrilled to serve as a Broadcast Journalist.
What do you think will be the hardest part of military life?
I think the hardest part of military life will be adjusting to a government-directed schedule. I am used to having a lot of flexibility in my day and making my own decisions about where to spend my time. Constantly being told what to do and where to go makes me feel slightly awkward and less independent as an individual. However, I recognize that following directions allows me to be highly effective as a member of the service.
What are you doing to prepare to attend boot camp?
To prepare for Basic Military Training (BMT), I have worked out regularly, eaten far more protein than usual, practiced my reporting statement, asked my recruiter many questions, and joined discussion boards on Facebook. I do not intend to be shell-shocked by the rigors of BMT.
Are you worried about any part of military life?
I am concerned about how the military will impact my finances and relationships. Primarily, my savings and my boyfriend. Being financially secure is extremely important to me, as I come from a large family and understand the costs of living. Moreover, I am anxious that the challenges of a long-distance relationship will separate me from my boyfriend. I am uncertain of our definite future but hopeful that we have what it takes to make it through my four-year contract.
What is one thing you hope to accomplish while serving in the military?
One thing I hope to accomplish while serving in the military is international travel. Up until now, I have only ever been to six states (four of which are in the South). I believe that by seeing more of the world, I will learn to communicate more efficiently with people of other cultures and better understand what I can do to serve them.
Who do you admire and why?
I greatly admire a little-known American sculptor named Anna Ladd. She used her art to construct lifelike masks for facially mutilated French soldiers. Using an original formula, she created attractive, affordable, and reliable prosthetics for these wounded warriors. In fact, her artificial faces saved many of these men from committing suicide. Furthermore, she did all this work voluntarily, seeing it as an opportunity to model, “a Christ that shows the triumph of spirit over suffering” (El-Hai, 2005). I can relate to this Ladd because I am also an artist and love to help others with the talents God has given me.
References: El-Hai, J. (2005, July). Anna Ladd’s Masks: Mending WWI’s Scars. The History Channel, 3, 26-31.
Are you considering joining the military or if you already joined why did you join? What’s your why?
Check out What Women would tell Women considering joining the military here.