Why I joined...

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley Coomes
  • Public Affairs
The story of why I joined the Air Force is probably not different from many. I started out by going to college for two years. I was lost in my courses, but it didn’t mean very much to me at the time. They were just stepping stones to a degree that would only start me at the bottom of the corporate totem pole. I would still need more experience and training. Worse, my part-time job as a life guard wasn’t paying the bills, and I felt like I needed to do something fulfilling and meaningful. 

Don’t get me wrong, I thought life guarding was the perfect job for me. That’s when I received a phone call from a high school friend. He was in tech school at a base right on the ocean. After his classes, he would walk out onto the beach. I started thinking about how the Air Force could give me a fulfilling experience, travel and free schooling. 

I took those thoughts to a recruiter who told me “This is not your ordinary job; whatever you do, will be in support of the world’s greatest air and space power.” 

The next thing I knew, I was on my way to sunny San Antonio. The mixed emotions of excitement and curiosity about what my future held motivated me to succeed when the harsh training tempted me to give up. It took six weeks of challenges to mold me into a trained Airman ready to face the world. 

Finally, on the day of my graduation from basic military training, I saw my mother and father clapping and cheering. I felt I had accomplished something that would place me ahead of my friends back home, and I was honored to be in the Air Force. I knew that I was on my way to a more fulfilling career. 

Of course, I didn’t know I was on my way to not-so-sunny Grand Forks, N.D., but I’m here supporting the world’s finest air refueling wing and I wouldn’t change my decision. My goal now is simple: to deploy and tell the stories of the Airmen who support the war.