Tag Archives: military

How to become an Air Force pilot

By Senior Airman Soochan Kim
Air Force Social Media Team

Many of us imagine it at least once: As a five-year-old child sitting on a chair playing pretend, as a teenager playing flight simulator video games, and in my case whenever I start the engine of my car (yes, I still play pretend when I’m by myself).

A fan watches the demonstration during the Dayton Airshow, June 21, 2015, at Dayton, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rachel Maxwell/Released)
A fan watches the demonstration during the Dayton Airshow, June 21, 2015, at Dayton, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rachel Maxwell/Released)

 

I’m talking about becoming a pilot. Not so surprisingly, many people choose to join the United States Air Force in hopes of becoming a pilot.

While we all dream of flying the multimillion dollar metal bird and delivering freedom to the enemies below in a form of explosives, let’s hold that thought and ask: how DO you become a pilot in the Air Force?

As many may find this surprising, it’s definitely not by wearing a pair of aviator sunglasses and growing out a Burt Reynolds mustache (not to mention that his mustache would be pushing it against the regulations). Rather, it requires an extensive amount of training and education to be selected as a pilot.

Continue reading How to become an Air Force pilot

The Road to Recovery

By Retired Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh

Archery
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, draws his bow back during training for the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. Waugh is competing in shooting and archery in this year’s games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

My story began in 2006 the day after Christmas while I was on my third deployment to Iraq as a tactical air control party Airman. My team and I were on patrol in Sadr City, Iraq, completing a blocking operation for a special operations team that was on a mission.

As we provided protection for the special operations team, there was a blast from a rocket propelled grenade launcher that hit my vehicle and knocked me out of the turret. We all were fine, but while my team was EXFIL-ing (removing personnel from a hostile environment), we were hit again. Next thing I know, I woke up and was lying on the ground. I have never really spoken about this.

One of the guys in my truck was killed. My driver lost his leg, and I woke up fine.

So I thought.

After the deployment, I came home and enjoyed life for five months before I was tasked to deploy again. Little did I understand the injuries I had suffered. I sustained a brain injury and a broken back, and I blew out my right ear drum, which left me with significant balance issues (not allowing me to run anymore or walk quickly).

Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet athletes from the Wounded Warrior Program. I always knew there was a program specifically for wounded warriors, but I never knew the full extent of the adaptive sports program. So I went to see what this was all about.

I thought I had recovered; I thought I was resilient. I mean, I went back to a war zone three times after getting blown up. I thought nothing could faze me.

In February 2015, I went to an Air Force Wounded Warrior camp known as ”Trials,” three months after having back surgery. On day one, I wanted go home as I decided this wasn’t for me.

Although I wanted to leave, I stuck it out for two days, and I made the team. However, I started to realize I hadn’t recovered. It had been eight years since getting injured, and I never knew that I was still struggling with things. Slowly, I eventually began to open up to people on the team. This is when my healing process began.

Robin Hood
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, celebrates hitting a “Robin Hood” during his archery practice at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. A “Robin Hood” is when the archer hits another arrow of theirs dead on into the end of the arrow on the target. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

Because I made the team, I was able to work and meet additional athletes at a training camp held at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in preparation for the Warrior Games. This is when I met the amazing people of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Program. This is when it clicked.

There are pillars of resiliency, and socially I wasn’t there. I had dealt physically, mentally, spiritually, etc., but socially, I had shut out the Air Force. I began to open up more socially in the Air Force and speak to the other members of the wounded warrior team. I started to hear their stories and get to actually know the other people, realizing I wasn’t alone. That is when I realized how great the Wounded Warrior Program is, and I began to put myself back together.

Now I am here today getting ready to compete in the Warrior Games, and I’m still progressing in my healing process.

It has been a long road to get here. I know everyone has his or her own struggles and road to travel. There are people in different stages; it can take years to really feel like you are there. But I am here, and I didn’t think I was going to be here. But I am happy that I am.

Congrats USAFA class of 2015!

By Air Force Social Media

The energy was electric at Falcon Stadium as 840 cadets graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy May 28, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presided over the ceremony, and told the new officers that they are the next generation of Air Force leaders, and they will play important roles in the future of the service.
Browse through the photo gallery below to get an inside look at many of the highlights from class of 2015’s graduation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure to Lackland: Another Day in Paradise

By Senior Airman Soo C. Kim
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Editor’s note: This is part two of a series detailing this author’s experiences at Air Force Basic Military Training and beyond. You can read part one of the series here.

A week and some days have passed since the fateful night we met our campaign-hat-of-doom. Most of us were still shivered at the sight of anything that remotely resembled that hat as if the Grim Reaper himself was staring directly into our soul. But, as the days went by, we slowly adapted to our new lifestyle.

Marching everywhere and avoiding eye contact with anyone who had more than two stripes became the norm. The yelling and push-ups began to sound and feel like loud sage advice and an opportunity to make my less-than-impressive “guns” stronger.
Continue reading Adventure to Lackland: Another Day in Paradise

5 cute photos of Military Working Dogs

By Tanya Schusler
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Make no mistake about it. The Air Force is full of tough and brave people, but like any other person, they turn into mush when they see military working dogs. It’s practically impossible not to love these pups before and after they become trained, skilled defenders.

Here are some of our favorite photos from this month. What do you think is going on in these photos? Caption them for us!

MWD EEarl
Say hello to EEarl!
EElaine
EElaine must think she’s clever.
EElson
EElson is quite mischievous in the kitchen.
GGale
GGale thinks very highly of herself.
GGilbert
Check out the teeth on GGilbert!