All posts by adick

Week in Photos, Nov. 16, 2012

By Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

From remembering the fallen to honoring the deployed, this Week in Photos is nothing if not dignified.

PHOTO: Tech. Sgt. Sara Bauer and Staff Sgt. Felipe Mendoza help each other place flags above the graves of deceased U.S. military members at the Veterans Memorial Park, Bluffdale, Utah, Nov. 9, 2012. A group of volunteers from Hill Air Force Base helped the Memorial Park’s staff place flags by over 4,300 deceased U.S. military members’ graves. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany DeNault)

Breast cancer survivor: One mother becomes daughter’s hero, Oct. 31, 2012

Michael and Cynthia Dick

By Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

During the first year of college, the world can seem so bright, cheery and hopeful. You can’t imagine anything could come along and taint life as you know it.

For me, I remember the day that darkened my life – something my 18-almost-19-year-old self never thought would happen – the day I found out my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society’s website, one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. Eighty-five percent of those women will have had no family history of the disease. For those of us with family history in the form of a “first-degree relative” (mother, daughter, sister), the risk of getting breast cancer doubles.

In the days leading up to her disclosure, I knew something was a little off. I had been feeling homesick and a little down. Instead of encouraging me to keep going and telling me it would be okay, my mom actually offered to pay for me to come home.

The day I arrived in Hawaii, it was a beautiful, sunny day – a stark contrast to the news I was about to receive.

My mother sat me down and began to tell me she had breast cancer. I remember just sitting there, still and quiet with tears pouring down my face, thinking, “How could this be? How could my mother, a pillar of strength in our family, have cancer? Is she going to die?”

You see, when my mom was 14, she found out she had a lump in her breast that turned out to be a cyst. Every so often, she would go in to the doctor’s office to have the liquid removed and tested, always with negative findings. Then in early 2003, when she was 44 years old, the cyst became cancerous, and it was then I learned how a woman who I thought was strong could become even more so.

I always looked up to and respected my mother as a symbol of a strong woman and someone whom I wanted to be like when I grew up. She always maintained a positive outlook and was strong in her faith. We may have had our moments like any mother and daughter would, but I always knew how much she loved me, and I could go to her for anything.

After her surgery as she lay in her hospital bed, I watched her struggle not to get sick from the morphine the doctor’s had given her.

The only thing that kept going through my mind was, “Is my mom going to die? She seems so weak. I can’t believe this is happening.” We still at the time didn’t know yet if the cancer had only been in the cyst or if it had spread. And, she still had to go through chemotherapy.

For a teenager who’d had a pretty easy life, this was the scariest thing I’d ever gone through.

Luckily, my mother had a great group of friends from church and work, who helped give her the extra support she needed – and they helped my sister and me out, bringing us meals and providing emotional support.

Michael and Cynthia Dick in 2009

During her battle to recovery, the tables were turned. At the young age of 18, I was the one who had to take care of her, making sure she was clean and comfortable.

My mother seemed so frail when I took her home, but I knew she really wasn’t.

In the coming weeks, I saw strength pour out of her as she went through chemotherapy and did her best to take care of her two daughters. Never once did I hear her complain or wish for a different life. Never once did I see her turn from her faith – if anything, this ordeal made her grow stronger in her faith.

When the results came back, she was told the cancer had in fact been only in her cyst, which had been removed during the surgery before chemo treatments. As she continued through chemo, she lost her hair and decided to wear her baldness proudly (part of the reason was because wigs made her head itch). By the fall, she had gained much of her strength back, and I headed off to college again.

I remember when I saw her later in the spring of 2004; she walked up to my dorm, looking healthy as ever. Her hair was growing back in, curlier than before, and all I could think was how weird it was to see hair on my mother’s head again. I had gotten so used to her bald head, that it was weird to see the “salt and pepper” color of her hair.

Cancer is not unknown to us, as it runs in our family. My mother’s mother had breast cancer, and then later died of ovarian cancer when my mom was young. Because of the family history, my mother knew what to watch out for and caught the cancer early. However, family history or not, everyone should know the signs and symptoms.

As women, we should be doing our own breast self examinations and going to our women’s health appointments. Once at the right age, we should have our mammograms annually.

But, women are not the only people who can get breast cancer. I remember my mother talking about the man in her breast cancer group who had been diagnosed – he never thought it could happen. According to the American Cancer Society’s website, about one out of 1,000 men are at risk. The Society estimates that more than 2,000 men were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2011.

That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the factors and risks that can increase our chances, and, to be aware of the disease itself.

My mother, whom I already respected, became my biggest hero the year she survived cancer. As October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, help spread the word and raise awareness. I know I will. And if I am ever diagnosed, I hope I will fight and survive like my mother and the 2.6 million U.S. citizens who have survived breast cancer.

Photo 1: Then-U.S. Army Private 1st Class Michael Dick and wife, Cynthia, take a couples photo during Michael’s Christmas leave from Army basic training in December 1982. Cynthia was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2003 and is now cancer free. (Courtesy photo)

Photo 2: Michael and Cynthia Dick celebrate Easter 2009 together in Petersburg, Ky. Cynthia was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2003 and is now cancer free. (Courtesy photo)

Meet the Air Force Week Air Force Social Media Team!, Aug. 18, 2012

Check out the crew bringing you the highlights from Air Force Week in New York City for the next few days.

Hi! I’m Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick, and I’ve been with the Air Force Social Media team since April 2012 when I returned from my deployment in Afghanistan. I grew up as an Army brat and loved the military so much I joined the Air Force! I’ve been in for 6 ½ years, and I’ve love it. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to so many wonderful places and meet interesting people and hear their stories.

 

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What’s up Air Force fans! My name is Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras, and I’m currently part of the Air Force Social Media team. I’m from New Jersey, and I’m a combat photographer in the Air Force. I do my photography with great pride. I’m glad I have been given the opportunity to show you and the rest of the world the Air Force story, and I hope you enjoy every image I take. Thanks for reading and hope to see you all in the “Big Apple.”

 

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Hello! I’m Othana Montoya, and I recently joined the Air Force Social Media Team.  I’m very excited about this opportunity to experience different perspectives. While working for the Air Force I have learned valuable lessons that have set a strong foundation both personally and professionally.

Air Force Week – Are you ready?, Aug.18, 2012


By Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

We can’t believe it’s finally here – Air Force Week 2012! We just wanted to give you the low down on events going on in New York City Aug. 19-21, 2012. Whether you can make it or not, the Air Force Social Media team will be on foot to give you coverage of the events through the U.S. Air Force Facebook, Twitter (hashtag #AFWeek), Instagram (officialusairforce), Flicker, YouTube BlueTube and right here on the blog! More information can be found at the official Air Force Week website. Hope to see you there!

All events are free and open to the public, unless specifically noted.

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Saturday, August 18th

New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox – Air Force Day | 4: 05 p.m.
Yankee Stadium: Bronx, NY
Tickets are required for this event.

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Sunday, August 19th

U.S. Air Force Displays | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Pier 86, next to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Command Center Alpha
Challenger Vapor
X1 Mustang
Drill Exhibitions at 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. by The USAF Honor Guard Drill Team
Band Performances at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. by Max Impact from The USAF Band — watch Max Impact’s newest music video, “Send Me”
Military Working Dog demonstrations every hour
Interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Math events
United States Air Force Academy Falcon demonstrations
Come and Meet:
Air Force Thunderbirds Crews
Medical Professionals with Interactive Exhibits
Cyber and Space Professionals
Pilots and Missile Operators
Explosive Ordinance Disposal Teams
Security Forces Teams

SR-71 Presentation by retired Colonel Rich Graham | 11 a.m.
Followed at noon by an SR-71 Q&A session on the flight deck by the A-12
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Theater
Tickets are required for this event.

Air Force Thunderbirds Flyover | 1 p.m.
Over the Hudson River by Pier 86

Air Force Helicopter Water Rescue Demonstration | 2 p.m.
Hudson River next to Pier 86

Concert by the Blue Aces from the USAF Heritage of America Band | 6:30 p.m.
With special performance by The USAF Honor Guard Drill Team at 6 p.m.
Back to the Beach at Midland Beach: Staten Island

New York Red Bulls vs Portland Timbers – Air Force Night | 7 p.m.
Red Bull Arena: Harrison, New Jersey
Tickets are required for this event.

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Monday, August 20th

U.S. Air Force Displays | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Pier 86, next to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Command Center Alpha
Challenger Vapor
X1 Mustang
Drill Exhibition at 1 p.m. by The USAF Honor Guard Drill Team
Band Performances at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. by Max Impact from The USAF Band — watch Max Impact’s newest music video, “Send Me”
Military Working Dog demonstrations every hour
Interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Math events
United States Air Force Academy Falcon demonstrations
Come and Meet:
Air Force Thunderbirds Crews
Medical Professionals with Interactive Exhibits
Cyber and Space Professionals
Pilots and Missile Operators
Explosive Ordinance Disposal Teams
Security Forces Teams

Concert by the Blue Aces from the USAF Heritage of America Band | 5 p.m.
With sepcial performance by The USAF Honor Guard Drill Team at 5:50 p.m.
Brooklyn War Memorial, Cadman Plaza: Brooklyn, NY

New York Mets vs Colorado Rockies – Air Force Night | 7 p.m.
Citi Field: Flushing, NY
Tickets are required for this event.

Air Force Movie Night and Concert | 8 p.m.
“Red Tails”
7:15 p.m. Concert by the Ceremonial Brass from The USAF Band
7:45 p.m. Meet the Tuskegee Airmen
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

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Tuesday, August 21st

U.S. Air Force Displays | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Pier 86, next to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Command Center Alpha
Challenger Vapor
X1 Mustang
Band Performances at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. by the Blue Aces from the USAF Heritage of America Band
Military Working Dog demonstrations every hour
Interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Math events
United States Air Force Academy Falcon demonstrations
Come and Meet:
Air Force Thunderbirds Crews
Medical Professionals with Interactive Exhibits
Cyber and Space Professionals
Pilots and Missile Operators
Explosive Ordinance Disposal Teams
Security Forces Teams

Concert by Max Impact from The USAF Band | 3 p.m.
With special performance by The USAF Honor Guard Drill Team at 3:50 p.m.
South Street Seaport: Manhattan, NY
Watch Max Impact’s newest music video, “Send Me”

Brooklyn Cyclones vs Tri-City Valley Cats – Air Force Night | 7 p.m.
MCU Park: Brooklyn, NY
Tickets are required for this event.

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(U.S. Air Force graphic)

TACPs work outside the wire, Aug. 1, 2012


By Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

“Because of you, I get to go home to my daughter.” Tactical air control party (TACP) members provide close air support for U.S. Army Soldiers while deployed. Read how TACPs live between blue and green and view the TACP – outside the wire photo set.

Photo: Army unit patches hang next to Air Force name tapes and uniforms at the 14th ASOS at Fort Bragg, N.C. To match their Army counterparts, TACP Airmen wear different uniforms in theater and in training. At the squadron, Airmen here have their own cage-locker, where they store gear and uniforms for use in training and real-world emergencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexander W. Riedel)