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Tag: Military

Aiming High in the Air Force: 2002, Part Two: Fort Lost in the Woods

A1C Harlan CCAF Graduation (Aug 2006)

Leaving Basic Training behind and beginning the next step in my career as an Airman was surreal. I left Lackland Air Force Base, which had become my home over the past two months, at oh-dark-thirty. Stripes on the sleeves of my dress Blues uniform and a duffel bag in my left hand, it seemed strange to shake my TI’s hand and say goodbye.

Aiming High in the Air Force: 2002, Part One: This One Time, in Boot Camp…

Air Force Logo

During my second semester at Iowa State, in the early weeks of 2002, I came to realize that I wasn’t able to live up to the expectations of a university environment. Ever since September 11, I’d been floundering academically, and although I was an Air Force ROTC cadet, my major in Journalism ensured that I wouldn’t get the scholarship I needed, as they were only going to math, science, and engineering majors. Without that scholarship, my debts only continued to mount, and I was rapidly reaching a tipping point. Something needed to change. With all of this–and more–in mind, I chose to drop out of school and enlist in the Air Force.

Service before self

Map showing Baumholder’s location

At the end of 1990, American servicemembers began to build up in Saudi Arabia, along the border that country shared with Kuwait. This action, Operation Desert Shield, was precipitated by the fact that Kuwait had been invaded by its larger neighbor to the North, Iraq. While these events were front-page news across the globe, they had an immediate, direct impact on my life, as I was a teenager growing up in Baumholder, an Army post in Germany.