Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

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Just a few days ago, I departed a city few Americans have heard of to spend the summer in the Central Alabama heat. As I look back over the last decade, a number of events led me to a place I never thought I’d be. As the world changed around me, I began my transition from adolescent foolishness to a career as an Air Force Weather Officer. I have already accomplished more than I ever thought I would, and my actions have had impacts across the globe. On September 10, 2001, I was a naive college sophomore. I would sleep through class just to be able stay up all night. I was there for a piece of paper: my ticket to a good job and a lot of money. That was my big picture. After all, isn’t wealth what really matters? It wasn’t that I was dim; I was enrolled in a Math program at Cornell University. I simply lacked insight into what was important. As was the case for most Americans, September 11th changed all that. Suddenly, making it to top in the corporate world didn’t seem imperative. I contemplated enlisting in the military then and there, but set out to graduate first. As college progressed, I was determined to become more knowledgeable. I began to read more than just the assigned textbooks, became engaged with friends on political issues, traveled, and really started to think for myself. In the months leading up to graduation, the jobs I thought I wanted had no appeal. There was a desire to do something more. I really didn’t understand what it meant to be a military officer on the day I walked into the Air Force recruiting office. No one in my family had served since my grandfathers fought in World War II, and they had both passed on long before I was born. I thought I would sign some paperwork, go to tr... ... middle of paper ... ...Commander at Incirlik. We are a small flight, just seven people, but we control weather operations for a 24/7 airfield as well as four auxiliary locations. We are the final stopping point for both cargo and people heading to and from the AOR. Since I took command, we have provided support to the American, British, French, and Turkish Air Forces as well as the US Navy, Army, and Office of Defense Cooperation, Turkey. My Air Force story is probably not too typical. I didn’t come from a military family, was never an athlete, and, when I was younger, rarely thought about much more than myself. While I would hardly consider myself a great man today, I have grown considerably. I continue to accomplish things today that I never would have even attempted in the past. More importantly, I play a vital role in securing the interests and security of our nation.

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