VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
My parents are superheroes.
They may not be cape-wearing, city-saving, wall-crushing crusaders, but to me, my sister and many of the people they have helped, they are superheroes.
Flying all over the world, fixing problems, inspiring those around them, sometimes leaving to save the world one day at a time, and occasionally being gone for weeks depending on the mission at hand. On top of fixing problems, my parents are mentors, friends and Wingmen. While saving the world, it’s their mission to make a positive impact on all of those they come across and lead from the front.
My parents have a hard and important job. They are C-17 Globemaster III integrated flight control system specialists. They work hard to keep aircraft flying safely and tackle any problems that may arise. Along with that, they help the people around them to ensure both the aircraft and their peers are ready for the mission.
Sometimes people tell me my parents are great, inspiring. They tell me how my parents saved them in rough times and made sacrifices for them when not a lot of people would.
Even with all these great anecdotes and words of awe, growing up with two superhero parents wasn’t always easy.
While I loved seeing them make a spectacular difference in people’s lives, it limited the amount of time we were able to spend together as a family. My parents didn’t just work office hours; they worked when people needed them.
Sometimes it seemed as if there was always something happening that was more important than family time. That there was always a mission to be done or a person needing help. From temporary duty assignments to helping friends move, it seemed like my parents were always on it.
Although it seemed exhausting, repetitive and even sometimes annoying, I was proud of my parents for always stepping up and helping.
During my senior year of high school, I decided to follow in my parent’s footsteps and enlist in the U.S. Air Force. It wasn’t a hard choice because, although I knew a lot in my life would change, growing up in a military family and understanding the lifestyle gave me comfort.
While preparing for basic military training, my dad set me up for success. We worked out regularly, and he encouraged and inspired me to strive to be my personal best. When there was a workout I couldn’t do, he helped me create a plan to build up strength until I was able to complete it.
“Failure is not an option.” This is something he’d frequently say to me when my arms were shaking, and I was struggling to finish my last pushup. Or when I wanted to quit running, and just call it a day. That little phrase reminded me that if I was determined to do something, I could do it.
Keeping that mindset throughout my time at basic training led me to success.
Although my dad helped me a lot with physical training and getting into the military mindset, my mom played a huge role in preparing me as well. She taught me about dealing with stresses that will come my way and how to take failures as lessons, to keep moving, and to not let them weigh me down.
I graduated basic training as an honor graduate in December 2017 and graduated technical school in May 2018.
Now as an active duty service member, I often reflect on my younger years as a military child. I am inspired by the example my parents set for me when I was younger and still continue to set.
I often ask myself, “Am I being a positive light for those around me? Would my parents be proud of the way I am representing myself? Am I being a Wingman?”
When I need help or not sure about something, I have two superheroes that are just one phone call away. Their example and advice have proven to be been the most valuable tools in my toolbox, helping me on my journey to being a superhero, too.