It is Friday again and just like every day this month I get to write for five minutes on a prompt word. This week’s word is NEW and my theme is military life. So give me a few seconds to pick out what new experience I want to write on because there are a lot.
I think I’m going to reflect back on Field Training and how everything was so new. It was hard for me and there was more than one day when I didn’t think I was actually going to become an Air Force Officer.
I can remember back to my first day of Field Training. Technically I missed the first day (Day 0) because our plane was delayed out of Fresno. We didn’t arrive until 0100 on Day 1. Luckily for me the military doesn’t count the day you arrive as training. So although I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I only missed getting yelled at through in-processing and some time to organize my stuff.
I arrived jet lagged and a little (okay a lot) unsure. It was all so new and unexpected. I had been preparing for months on how to survive the 28 days of Field Training.* But as we pulled up to the military installation, I was unsure of what to expect and wondered how I would survive.
Shy and Quiet don’t sound like Air Force Officer
I don’t think that shy, quiet, stand in the corner and not say anything girl is still inside of me. I was thrown into a situation where everything in me wanted to just quit. Then the struggle would be over and I could go back to my quiet life. I wasn’t good at marching, using my command voice, or taking the lead by speaking up. I’m pretty sure my Field Training Officer (evaluations officer) didn’t expect me to last through the week, much less through the month.
She tried to throw me off by putting me in charge of the first obstacle at the challenge course. Something that I had never even practiced or really even understood. She thought I wouldn’t take the lead. That my teammates would walk right over me. But instead, I spoke up and gave my instructions and advice. She later told me she expected me to fail. And the fact that I hadn’t surprised her. She kept throwing challenges my way. And my determination to finish the 28 days just grew deeper as the days turned into weeks.
Fear Almost Stopped Me
I’m so glad I didn’t let my fear of so many things keep me from becoming the Air Force Officer that I became. I know that the challenges that came from the training helped me to learn how to step out of my comfort zone and prepared me for the adventure that would soon be in store when I headed to a new country on an unexpected mission, to do another new thing, but this time it wasn’t training and lives were on the line.
I can’t believe how much I have changed as I reflect back to that day so many years ago.
* Field Training is similar to Basic Training for Enlisted member, but where Basic Training teaches Airman to follow, Field Training is for future Officers and it teaches them to lead.
See all my 31 Days…Military Life
4 comments on “I Almost Didn’t Become an Air Force Officer”
What advice would you give me; I’m a mom of a precious 8 year old girl, a wife and a paraprofessional. I would like to join the Air Force reserves. But what keeps me from applying is my weight and if I am ready to go through an extreme military training and be able to put up with the yelling.
I think it depends on a lot of factors. Like officer/enlisted? What job you pick? How long tech school will be? The why behind your desire to serve. I would love to talk to you more about this to help you find your way.
I’ve really been considering joining the AF as an Officer and would really like some perspective. How is it as a woman? If I have a degree in global studies does it go into which job I get as an officer? How hard is it to become a Public Affairs Officer?
What’s it like having a family in the military?
What is life like as an officer vs enlisted?
Thanks so much for your time.
I actually created a guide to help women if they are considering joining the military. You can check it out here: https://www.airmantomom.com/free-resources/a-girls-guide-to-the-military/
I think that there are a lot of opportunities for women. There are hard parts to being a female, because it is primarily men, but also so many good things. I am happy to have served. I don’t know what job would be best. My degree was Civil Engineering. But if you talked to a recruiter, I’m sure they could get you the best options. I’m not sure about how hard it is to become a PAO, I think it just depends on when you are looking to join. I left the miltary when my son was born because my husband was also in the miltary. I think with the rules changing so that moms don’t deploy until a year after their children are born it is better. But with my husband and I being both in the best choice for our family was to leave when I became a mom. I was not enlisted, but officers have more freedom when they join. They don’t live in the dorms, have more responsibility and are leaders. Both choices are good, but you have to find out what works best for you. Since you have your degree it would be worth looking at both and deciding what is best for you. I’ll send an email with more info incase you have more quesitons.
You can also hear of other women’s experiences as military members on the Women of the Military podcast.