Why I Stay Blue: Staff Sgt. Steffen Hillestad

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kayla Christenson
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Steffen Hillestad, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron deployment plans and programs section chief, chose to re-enlist in the U.S. Air Force this past year and plans to serve for at least 20 years. Hillestad enlisted in 2014 and explained that the great benefits initially drove him to join, but ultimately, he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to serve in the world’s greatest Air Force.

“What led me to serve was my value of selfless service with the spark of patriotism,” he said. “As a child I always knew I wanted to join the military. Later in life I started to attend my local community college but couldn't afford tuition. I knew the military had great education benefits and I could gain valuable on-the-job training, which is very sought after in the civilian workforce.”

Hillestad emphasized that his family is his biggest motivation to serve.“My grandparents and father immigrated from Norway and came to the states in the 1960s,” he said. “Being a first generation military member, this was my way of giving back to our nation. My wife has been my rock and biggest cheerleader and motivates me to be a better person. She has been there for all my ups and downs and continues to support me.”

Hillestad also shared the reason behind his decision to re-enlist after serving his minimum enlistment of eight years.

“I choose to stay in the Air Force because of a quote, ‘leaving it better than how you found it,’” he said. “I want to contribute and leave a lasting impact on Airmen by developing them professionally and personally. The greatest resource the Air Force has is its Airmen. We are all brothers and sisters in arms, and we must take care of each other.”