Tag Archives: purpose

I was determined to live

By Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury
460th Space Wing Public Affairs

I don’t mean “the parachute opened in just the knick of time as I plummeted to the Earth” kind of save.

I was failing college classes and getting into trouble. I didn’t care if my decisions led to jail or death. I was too busy recklessly living in the moment while not giving a thought to the future. I knew I needed to make a decision.
So I raised my right hand and took that leap of faith as my parents did.

The Air Force taught me the discipline I needed to live a meaningful life again. I was finally exposed to my purpose. I was instilled with the core values and learned how to live with ambition. I began to live not only for myself, but for the men and women standing beside me. Most importantly, I was given the tools to be successful, and I learned success requires a great deal of resiliency.

Air Force bases around the world designate at least an entire day each year strictly to learn about and practice resiliency. It’s been drilled into my head since the day I stepped off the bus at basic training with the staff sergeants’ screams introducing me to military life. I’ve heard the four pillars of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness over and over.

So why do I care? And, more importantly, why would I write about something I could recite in my sleep? Because we never know how we are going to react to something until it happens. We can plan for every scenario, but until it unfolds, we have no idea how we will react. I believe it is resiliency that helped me plan for the challenges I thought I might never face.

Resiliency is the ability to return to original form after being bent, compressed or stretched to our breaking points. As Airmen, we are constantly encouraged to become stronger by creating a balance of the four pillars: mental, physical, social and spiritual. I know that I must be able to care for myself before I could care for others.

As I transitioned into adulthood, I was disappointed in the 18-year-old I saw in the mirror. Looking back, I know it could have been worse, and others may have traveled more difficult paths, but everyone handles circumstances differently, and it was enough to spiral me into a depression. I realized I needed help.

Now, I practice resiliency on a regular basis. Whether it is working out, volunteering or doing anything that simply brings me joy, I am able to create a much more stable frame of mind. When something devastating might happen to me again, I know it will take everything I can muster to get up and keep going. I know now that being resilient is my only defense against life’s guaranteed hiccups.

I write not only to be an example of the effects of resiliency, but in hopes that others can find strength within themselves as well. One of the greatest things about resiliency is that it’s never too late to build it.

I was taught how to stand up against life’s curve balls, and, for that, I credit the Air Force with saving my life.

Re-blued

 By Senior Airman Ulla Stromberg
99th Inpatient Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician

Being from Manhattan, Kan., an individual isn’t exposed to too terribly much. Cuisine was only as worldly as the Chinese/American buffet and entertainment rested in a dive bar or bowling alley. The one thing about this community, however, was the people. Being home to the students of Kansas State University and a great many of our soldiers from Fort Riley, the majority of the population’s faces were constantly changing. Human interaction and the life experiences heard from those soldiers and students broadened our worldly horizons.

Senior Airman StrombergAs I grew older, I was more informed and cognizant of the purpose of the military member. I loved hearing their stories and began to notice how those realities behind the tale developed their admirable character. I would watch those uniformed men and women at the local grocery store who always maintained an unwavering sense of purpose and seemed slightly more considerate of their loved ones who were with them. My eyes were opened when I realized this consideration came from the thought that the moment I had observed may have been due to this family seeing each other for one of the first or last times in the midst of a seemingly endless deployment season. I admired their sacrifice, their selflessness. To me, the uniform stood for a great many things. I hadn’t the foggiest idea what in the world occupational badges or rank insignias stood for. I just knew as an outsider looking in that the uniform stood for sacrifice. Sacrifice brought discipline and discipline brought pride and purpose. I enlisted in the United States Air Force at the earliest opportunity.

Because we are human, it is easy to fall into routine, to become complacent. However, one must always remember how they felt upon graduation from basic military training (BMT) when they received their Airman’s Coin. BMT pushes you, it brings you to hell and back but what emerges is a polished and refined individual who now sees the color of the flag in a brighter shade of red, white and blue. My advice is to always remember that moment, that character transition, and to remember that “The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you.” You traded a day of your life to come into work and put on that uniform. Make it count. If you remember these things, with the aid of your wingmen and leadership, ANYTHING is attainable.

Quote by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1944, D-Day.

Photo:U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Ulla Stromberg, a 99th Inpatient Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, takes the blood pressure of Airman 1st Class Matthew Lancaster, a 99th Air Base Wing photographer, April 4, 2011, at Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Stromberg was recently named one of the Air Forces’ 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. The Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon is awarded to 12 enlisted Airmen who display superior leadership, job performance, community involvement and personal achievements throughout the year. Air Force Association officials will honor the 12 recipients September 2011 during the Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Stephanie Rubi)

Photo of the day, Dec. 14, 2011

Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Steve Roeper, a 107th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapons load crew member, performs a rack inspection and cleaning on a U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt close air support aircraft at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 2, 2011. The A-10 can employ a wide variety of conventional munitions, including general purpose bombs, cluster bomb units, laser guided bombs and others. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Corey Hook)