Every AF job has unique experiences

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kenneth W. Norman
  • 97 Air Mobility Wing
I have been working in my career field as a public affairs journalist for about two months. And within the past two months, I have been a passenger of three flights on two different model aircraft.

It wasn't until I started talking to other Airmen who I had attended technical training with that I realized how rare it is for non-aircrew Airmen to ride in the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III or lay next to a boom operator on a KC-135 Stratotanker. In fact, a few Airmen who I spoke with did not even know what a boom operator was.

Having the opportunity to fly on military aircraft is a perk of my job. What I have realized is that no two Airmen have the exact same job, or the exact same experiences.

Every Airman has experiences others may rarely - if ever - experience during their careers. Take advantage of the opportunities the Air Force presents you no matter what career field you are in. It will make your service so much more enjoyable and hopefully provide many fond memories.

My most recent fond memory was being a passenger on a C-17 Globemaster III during a biannual Mobility Air Force Exercise. During the exercise the aircrew performed a landing on a semi-prepared runway, which is a dirt landing strip, 6,000 feet long by 90 feet wide. Aircrews rarely get to practice this kind of landing because it is very rough on the aircraft.
Capt. Carl B. Rotermund, 97th Air Mobility Wing pilot, told me he has been flying for nine years and this was the first time he had the opportunity to see or perform a landing on a semi-prepared landing strip. I felt very honored and privileged to experience this exercise.

Being in the cockpit and looking out at our beautiful country gives you a strong sense of patriotism and a view of the homeland you are defending with your life. Not many people can say they flew over the Rocky Mountains, landed in Las Vegas and then flew over the Grand Canyon at sunset, all in one day.

What unique opportunities does your job provide for you? Is there an aspect of your job you were expecting to dislike and ended up enjoying it?

One aspect of my job I thought I wouldn't like was interviewing and communicating with subject matter experts for stories. But now that I am out of training and doing it on a regular basis, it is actually one of my favorite parts of the job. It is cool to get information right from a source and turn the information they provide into a story.