I joined the United States Air Force in July 2000, fresh out of the cornfield of Northwest Ohio, and completed basic training and logistics analyst school at Lackland AFB, TX. My first duty station was at Malmstrom AFB, MT and I had to get out a map to figure out exactly where Montana was (admittedly, I was not the best geography student). Life in Montana was calm and I had a lot of time to learn my new job and figure out exactly what a logistics analyst was (the job sounded cool and it had a killer sign-on bonus).
On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was in the chow-hall eating breakfast with some buddies when breaking news reported that a plane had hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center; unfortunate tragedy. When another plane hit the South Tower you could feel the energy drain from the room; the looks on the faces of our Senior Enlisted personnel told us that we needed to prepare for the worst.
The first three days following 9/11 were a blur; I worked almost 48 hours straight not really knowing what was going on and what the world’s response would be. On day 5 another airman from my flight and I were told we would be deploying to a classified location “somewhere hot”. On October 7, 2001 we left Montana on a KC-130 and stopped in Ireland, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and finally Pakistan (I really needed my map at this point).
Because this location was classified we could not take a direct route and after 11 days of travel we were headed to Pakistan. I was one of the first 1000 women to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and I deployed to support something called a drone; a Predator Drone. My flight-buddy and I moved between different FOB’s (forward operating bases), and spent half our time in Afghanistan.
The War in Afghanistan is now the longest running war in U.S. history. War is not fun. War is not-glamorous and it is not anything I would wish for anyone to ever have to go through. That being said, knowing what I know today I still would have enlisted and done my time to serve this country that I love so much. For a long time the military was family, and my family helped me to grow in more ways than just being an analyst. My family taught me loyalty, leadership and the importance of service before self.
From a CenterPointe Hospital Staff