My Air Force Journey

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The Air Force has been a life shaping institution for me as it has been for many others. The demands and opportunities inherent to military service have given me the chance to grow and develop as an individual and team member. From the age of five, I wanted to be a fighter pilot. But as I grew up, my dream remained the same while my motivations changed greatly. Once I entered the Air Force, the experiences that I had serving were profound and life changing and my current assignment affords me the opportunity to use that experience in a joint environment to shape the way that the Army and the Air Force integrate. While the steps along the way have been many and varied, upon reflection I can see that the common thread throughout has been the ideal of service before self. My journey into the Air Force begins in a similar manner to many fighter pilots my age. It all started with a small movie from 1986, “Top Gun”. As a five year old watching fighters streak across the screen, I was hooked. I realized quickly that the Air Force would be the place that I could pursue that dream. However, while I was still in school, our nation was attacked on September 11th and my motivation was completely changed. Going to college in New Jersey just a short train ride from the Twin Towers, I knew many who had lost friends and family in the attacks. No longer was my commissioning and career selection about a self-interested dream. With the clarity of retrospection, I can recognize that the driving element was the desire to serve. While in college, I had the occasion to enter our main campus building where the names of all the students who died in service to the nation are inscribed on the walls. Walking in that hall always filled me wit... ... middle of paper ... ... the Army looks at me as “the Air Force” since I am the senior representative they have in the brigade. In addition to understanding the full spectrum of capabilities the Air Force provides, I also have a deeper awareness of the Army and its strengths and weaknesses. After this assignment working as “the salesman” for the Air Force to the Army, I feel that I will return to the cockpit with a much broader perspective of joint warfare. Like the rest of my Air Force brothers and sisters-in-arms, my career has been profoundly shaped by September 11th and the subsequent wars. A Hollywood blockbuster started my Air Force story but it has become something far more profound and meaningful to me. It is an honor and a privilege to continue to serve with so many men and women willing to sacrifice their happiness, safety and even their lives in defense of their nation.
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