AFDW Capital Airman: Tech. Sgt. Danielle Charles

  • Published
  • By Air Force District of Washington Public Affairs
Tech. Sgt. Danielle Charles, Air Force District of Washington Ceremonies and Protocol specialist, is an AFDW Capital Airman. Charles, who joined the Air Force in June 2007, is also a Reservist with the 459th Security Forces Squadron. Charles joined the AFDW staff in November 2012.

Why did you choose to join the Air Force? I laugh every time someone asks me this question because it's funny to think about how I joined. I know most people join the Air Force to follow in their parent's footsteps, but that was not the case for me.  I was against the military and I always swore that the military life was not for me.  When I was 19 years old I transferred to a college in Tampa, Florida, from Miami because I wanted to be closer to home.  I was dating a guy at the time and convinced him not to join the military because I didn't want him to go off and marry an Air Force woman. It sounds crazy, I know. At this time, I was also working at AOL part time. One night I was in training for my job and there was this older lady who had just retired from the Air Force.  She asks me what I thought about the military and replied, "Oh no, that's not for me." She continued to tell me she thought the Air Force would be the perfect profession for me. She began to tell me stories about all the opportunities she had while in the military, which prompted me to begin googling the local recruiter. I linked up with the local recruiter and I was gone a few months later. It's funny I swore the military wasn't for me, but eight years later I'm still here and loving the decision I made.

What is your job and how does that impact the AFDW mission? I work on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, D.C., in the AFDW Ceremonies and Protocol Section.  In this office we handle all the retirements, promotions, funerals for general officers and any events that the top five leaders of the Air Force are hosting.  A simple way to describe our job is event planning for senior leaders.  We have the opportunity to be there for people's last moments in the Air Force as well as when they are achieving a new rank.  Our mission is to help these honorable men and women to enjoy their ceremonies and not have to stress about any of the planning or execution. We are there to show honor to those who served before us and have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. 

What has been your most memorable or rewarding military experience? I can say the most rewarding part of my career has been working with AFDW Ceremonies and Protocol.  I would have never been able to take selfies with the Secretary of the Air Force or speak to and shake the hands with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. I've had the honor to escort general officer hosts to pay honors to our fallen Soldiers at funerals. To be a part of these memorable moments with the family and friends of the fallen Airman present is very touching and something I do not take for granted.  The opportunity to be at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witness the guardsman watch over our men and women we have lost is truly an honor and experience I will always cherish and never forget.