Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I am proud of my Airman

As I sit here today, I am feeling a ton of emotions, and apprehension. It seems my youngest, A1C Allen, may be slotted to leave the USAF because they have too many people. I question this simply because the recruiters are still recruiting, and kids ship off to basic every day- but there are too many people.

Matt told me in his squadron the people who WANT to go home are being retained, and the people who want to STAY are having to beg to stay. Matt is in the latter group. He LOVES being a crew chief on a C-130. He LOVES working the flight line and performing maintenance on his plane. He LOVES watching his plane take off on a mission, only to come back safely because he did his job correctly.

To be considered to stay, Matt had to write an essay about why he wanted to stay. It brought tears to my eyes. He truly has grown and matured as a young man, and I am proud of my Airman. Here is an excerpt of his essay:

SUBJECT: Response to Potential Date of Separation Rollback

1. Sir, where I come from, the word “volunteer” is not a word taken lightly. It is a word that has several meanings to the people of east Tennessee such as courage, strength, and reliability. At the age of 13, I decided to volunteer to serve my country in the United States Air Force. On (2009), I entered active duty.

2. Although this may sound odd to people outside the state of Tennessee, we volunteers take pride in our dedicated history of service to our nation dating back as far as 1835 and to some of the first volunteers including Davy Crockett. In November 1835, Davy Crockett and men from east Tennessee rode from Greene County (just next to my home town) to San Antonio, Texas. When the men arrived in San Antonio, they faced the daunting task of defending the Alamo Mission against 1,500 Mexican soldiers. Day after day, they struggled in the fight--never losing spirit, never losing courage. In the end, Davy Crockett and his Tennessee Volunteers were killed serving their country. To this day, I continue to find motivation in my own life and in my Air Force career from Davy Crockett’s story, but more so from my personal faith and the events that unfolded on September 11, 2001 and the days and years following.

3. Seven years ago at the age of 13, I boarded a train in Newark, New Jersey with my mother. I was on the red line heading east to New York into a hole upon which the World Trade Center once stood. That trip would forever change my life. I was sitting on the very front seat, eager to see the Big Apple and all the many sites when the doors at Exchange Place closed, and we continued to our final destination in New York. We approached the end of the tunnel where the light beamed on the tracks, and I saw the remains of the World Trade Center. The train slowed to go around a corner when I felt my mom place her hand on my shoulder. My mother and I got off the train and made our way to ground level, where we could truly understand the magnitude of the hole our train had just pulled into. As I approached the top of the stairs, I could see people crying, laying flowers, and praying for the families of those who were lost. It was at that very moment I knew I wanted to do what so many had done before me and that was to serve my country.

4. On that day it came clear to me that I wanted to be a volunteer. I wanted to defend my country from all enemies, I wanted to defend the Constitution, and I wanted to serve my fellow Americans. I found a personal drive like I never had before. I wanted to fight. I wanted to fight for the people who were in that tower and had no chance to fight, and I wanted to fight for the people who could not fight for themselves. I wanted to become a volunteer. I wanted to join the league of volunteers in America’s military who were unafraid of the enemy, those who would keep our flag flying high.

5. The Air Force has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. When I enlisted, my recruiter told me I would be forever changed on the day I raised my right hand and was he right! Since I joined, I find myself being challenged in new ways every day. I love my job. I love the Air Force. I want to serve my country for at least 20 years. When one is given the opportunity to wake up and do something one loves, it makes life simply amazing. Being a crew chief makes my life amazing day in and day out. The flight line to some people is just a place where the Air Force parks its planes, but for me it is my oasis. The flight line and working on aircraft is what makes me who I am as an Airman. I enjoy every aspect of my job, and I look forward to one day teaching new Airmen how to do the job correctly so they enjoy it as much as I do. I want to encourage passion as a supervisor and embody the Air Force Core Values.

He has been called the hardest working crew chief on his line, has been ‘coined’ several times, and has multiple letters of recommendation from Senior and Chief Master Sergeants. I hope that things turn out the way he needs them to. He is a good kid- and I am proud to be his mom.


Da Dude said...

If he was my son, I'd be proud also.

Beng Gee said...

His essay made me teary eyed. You have the right to be that proud! I may not be an American but got a nephew in the USN. He too is so devoted to his organization just like your son. I salute them!!