Thursday, January 31, 2013

My 2nd Air Force Anniversary

Source: Theme Cakes By Traci
Mmm...pregnant Airman needs chocolate covered strawberries...oh, hey!

January 31st is a day permanently marking my calendar as a personal holiday to celebrate.  On this fateful day two years ago, I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.  Today is my Air Force anniversary, the day from which my Time In Service (TIS) is counted from.  Reservists mark their date from the time they enlist, whereas Active Duty marks theirs from when they graduate BMT.  In eighteen short years, I'll be eligible for retirement!  ;)

I don't regret my enlistment for a minute.  I regularly tell folks that it was one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I stand by that statement.  I can't imagine not taking this opportunity or letting time pass me by and missing it.  It is my honor to serve my country, and it's a huge source of pride for me.  It wasn't a last resort, it wasn't a fallback plan, it was a choice and a desire of mine to join the military and give back to this great nation.

I feel so fortunate and so blessed to have done so much since I enlisted two years ago.  While I use the word "blessed," I also know that my success is a direct result of what I've put into it, as well as those who've mentored me along the way.  I am grateful for those who've believed in me, my potential, and have supported me every step of the way.

This next year in the Air Force brings more challenges and changes, and I am eagerly looking forward to the adventures that await me.  Cheers to the two years behind me and the third that lies ahead!      

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Women in Combat - Weighing In

First All-Female Flight Crew, 1983 (Credit: AF Times)
Social media and the news have been a buzz these days with talks of The Honorable Leon E. Panetta's [yes, that's how you'll refer to him at BMT] recent lifting of the ban on women in combat.  The controversy/conversation has been difficult to avoid even in my own home, as DH, a combat veteran of three branches now, has no problems sharing his opinion.

Me, I've been a little more quiet.  I understand the rationale behind the various arguments being thrown out there.  I self-identify as a feminist, but I try to do my research as I shape my position.  I believe in equal access and equal opportunity for all people, and the opportunity to prove one's worth and merit.  I also recognize that I am new to the military and have never deployed.  I won't claim to understand the emotional, physical, and mental demands of a combat environment.

What I do know and believe is this - when I tried to do something and others doubted me, it only motivated me further, to prove them wrong.  I surrounded myself by positive people who offered a support network and encouraged me to achieve my dreams.  I don't set out to do anything half-assed.  Like they say, anything worth doing is worth doing well.  I gave 100% from the get-go and excelled as a result.  If you're a woman who is passionate about serving on the front lines, by all means, go for it.  Everyone knows that road won't be easy, the nay-sayers will be plentiful, and your fellow service members might not even support you.  If you're up for those hurdles, then who am I to stand in your way of aiming high?  It goes against my personal philosophy to be unsupportive of anyone who is determined, passionate, and giving their all.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Catch-Up and Connect

Just wanted to do a quick catch-up post, as well as connect newcomers to some resources out there!  It's been a long UTA weekend, but very invigorating!  I've got more ideas of things to share with you all, so stick with me!


Today I had the opportunity to meet with the newly formed Development and Training Flight for the 302d Air Wing and the 310th Space Wing.  Another Personnelist and I discussed the different weeks of BMT and offered our advice, answered questions, and hopefully didn't overwhelm our DEPrs with too much information!  Meeting with people face to face was a fantastic refresher for me, and a reminder of how much I love doing what I do.  Life always throws me challenges and keeps me busy, but I try to get back.  Thanks for bearing with me!  If you were a part of D&TF today, sharing for sharing your time with me!

While I was there today, I mentioned the numerous Facebook groups that are currently in existence for future trainees.  I can't stress enough that this is a great way to network with people who may end up being in your flight.  These folks can keep you accountable and motivated, as well as provide an additional forum to answer questions.  A number of operational Airmen are a part of these groups as well, and answer questions.  You can find me in a number of these groups, answering questions when I can.

January 2013
February 2013 - There are two groups, one here and one here.
March 2013
April 2013
May 2013

If you have a later ship date than the ones mentioned above, consider starting a Facebook group for your month!

Women of the USAF - This Facebook group has both operational Airmen and future trainees on it.  It was originally designed to be for women currently in the AF, but the number of trainees has increased as well.  It's a good resource if you have female-specific questions, or want to potentially find another woman in your career field.  Overall, a very friendly and approachable group.

You can sometimes find an online forum or Facebook group for your AFSC if you search for one.  Give it a try, just remember to be courteous and respectful of those present, as many have been in the field for a number of years and these groups are typically designed for operational Airmen in the career field.  Sometimes it's better to lurk and take it all in, as well as search to see if someone has answered a question of yours before you make a new post. 

In other AHE news, I've been the subject/contributor on a couple pieces recently that I thought I'd share with you!

Airman Blogger Aims High - An interview for the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF News.  Also reposted on Military.com

A Different Kind of Deployment Checklist - Things the milspouse wouldn't necessarily think of for deployment prep, on USAA's Military Spouse Community.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Aiming High in 2012

This past year has brought a number of positive changes to my life and the life of my family, for which I am thankful!  I'm a few days late, but I had to share with you how far I've come - as a blogger, as an Airman, and as a milspouse.

January - My blog was reborn with the intent to be a teaching tool for those entering the Air Force, as well as to chronicle my own military career and adventures.  I poured most of my efforts into the "Heading to BMT?" series.  I ended the month celebrating my first Air Force anniversary!

February - With the encouragement from another AF Reservist, I signed up for my first half marathon, which was a 2012 resolution for me.  

March - I attended my Wing's annual Awards Banquet, my first semi-formal dress occasion in the Air Force.

April - I said goodbye to Henry, my '07 Harley Davidson Street Bob, my first motorcycle, and the vehicle that connected me with the Patriot Guard and numerous friends.  After much back and forth, DH finally swore into the AF Reserve, his third branch of service!  I found out that I was a finalist for the Milbloggies!

May - I went back and forth, and finally decided that I would pursue commissioning.  While on a long-awaited vacation in Durango, I learned that AHE was the 2012 Air Force Blog of the Year!  I completed my first half marathon!  With school ended, I began seasoning training as a Personnelist.

June - DH left for Sheppard AFB and Crew Chief tech school.  I found out that I was the Airman of the Quarter for my squadron.

July - I took the AFOQT.  I met the Airman of the Quarter board for the wing - while I was not successful, it was a great learning experience.  I traveled to Sheppard to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  *cough*  This may have resulted in the littlest Airman.  *cough*

August - DH and I officially celebrated five years of marriage, although it was across the miles and I had scheduled my first operational PT test that day!  Before beginning my 7th year of teaching, I completed seasoning training.

September - With my seasoning training and core tasks completed, I was officially a 5 skill level Personnelist, a 2012 resolution!

October - I shared with family, friends, and my dear readers the news that we were expecting a little Airman!  As a result, I started the "Enlisted and Expecting" series on the blog.  I also spent a majority of the month participating in my wing's Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI).  I officially completed my CCAF degree this month, an Associate's of Applied Science in Human Resource Management, although I will be recognized as an April 2013 graduate.

November - I submitted my package for the Deserving Airman Commissioning Program (DACP).  

December - I met the DACP board and was approved to attend Officer Training School (OTS)!  I also found out that I had an opportunity to work with our newly formed Development and Training Flight (D&TF).  I wrapped up the season like any good Airman elf - by tracking Santa for the second year in a row!

To say it's been an eventful year is probably an understatement, but that's typically the speed at which I work!  Always moving, always shaking.  2013 will, without a doubt, be even bigger and better with the birth of our first child!  Thank you all for your readership over the last year - I look forward to sharing more of my experiences with you in the coming days!