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  • The day America lost its innocence

    I was nine years old. I looked up into the blue, September sky, and saw a plane flying overhead. I thought about the people inside, who they were, where they were going, and why they weren't about to go to school like me. I often looked at planes; this was not out of the ordinary for a child who had been deemed "easily distracted." In the hours to
  • 15 seconds: A rude awakening

    Gut-wrenching screams, the shattering of glass, and the unforgettable sounds of metal twisting and bending all around me as my truck rolls over and over again. I thought those were going to be my last memories.April 12, 2012, started out like any other Thursday for me. I woke up early enough to take a quick shower and grab some breakfast before
  • Understanding sergeant's words: 'I've got your back'

    Seeing the newly selected staff sergeants recently brought back memories of when I was selected for staff sergeant.Actually, my thoughts went to the night I graduated Airman Leadership School. As I crossed the stage after receiving my completion certificate, my co-workers gathered to congratulate me and shake my hand. My supervisor, Staff Sgt. Todd
  • Lessons in compassion

    (This story is part of the "Commentaries" section on AF.mil. These stories capture the experiences of Airmen from a first-person perspective.) "Without mercy, man is like a beast. Even if you are hard on yourself, be merciful to others." - Quote from Kenji Mizoguchi's 1954 film, Sansho the Bailiff.On Aug. 20, 2012, I woke at 2:30 a.m. My bed,
  • Finding light through darkness

    Keeping a secret that defines you, that has shaped your life for nearly three years now and is sure to shape the rest, a secret that you go to sleep with every night and wake to every morning is sometimes hard to keep trapped inside.I could probably go my entire life without revealing the sad truth that I was raped, but to stay silent is to allow
  • Flight for life

    Last November, I was offered a chance to support a mission to Afghanistan, which I jumped on before I even knew the full details. My mission, as I had chosen to accept it, would have me rendezvous with an imbedded Washington Post duo in Afghanistan, escort them back to the U.S. I was also document an aeromedical evacuation and the life-saving
  • Think before you act: It only takes a second for your actions to go viral

    Have you ever done something you wish you could take back? Said something mean ... wrote something inappropriate ... behaved in a way that was disrespectful? I'm sure you have or you wouldn't be human.However, in today's society some of these behaviors never go away, even if you tried to delete them. They are documented in Facebook status updates,
  • MLK on leadership: Of current relevance

    The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had many personas depending on one's perspective: a minister, activist, hero, troublemaker -- even communist.But as you look back on his legacy, I believe even his staunchest opponents would probably agree that he was a leader -- a man with an absolute belief in the strategy of non-violence, and the supreme
  • Finding balance in the deployed, home station environments

    Many talk about finding balance the professional and person, yet for so many of us, especially while deployed, our work blends into our life. Finding balance to me means ensuring my energy stays level and I'm able to easily manage all the roles in my life. In the deployed environment, life can be complicated in that while there are less roles for
  • Think before you post

    Have you ever had one of those days that it seems like you are working harder than your coworkers? You made 100 widgets and your coworker has only made 50. So, what do you do when you perceive the workload as unfair? Do you go home and blast your frustrations out on social media for all to see or do you sit in your duty section and complain about
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