What’s In It For Me?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Daniels
  • 127th Communications Squadron
I joined the military a long time ago.  It was a different world back then, and I only planned on staying for four years, and then getting a real job.  So why am I still here?  The answer is simple.  But before I answer, let me back up a little.

I originally joined the military because I was in a low-paying job that would never lead to anything better than a minimum wage type of job.  I talked with my supervisor, who I respected a lot, and he told me that if he were a young kid, he would go join the military.  Based on his suggestion, I went down and talked to several recruiters.  Soon after that, I joined the Air Force.

I went to Basic, then to tech school for radio maintenance, and on to my first duty station, Griffiss AFB in Rome, NY.  It was an E&I unit, meaning we went TDY a lot.  It was here where I met the first of many mentors that have guided me through the trials and tribulations that come with being a member of the military.  I learned from my first supervisor, Staff Sgt. Towner, not to sweat the small stuff.  I learned from a friend, Staff Sgt. Sims (before he became 2nd Lt. Sims) that you can reach your dreams, all you have to do is try.  But I think I learned the most from my second supervisor, Staff Sgt. Powell, what integrity means.  On my first APR, he rated me honestly, even though it might affect my career.  I'm here to tell you that it affected me, but only in a positive way.  Thanks Terry.

After my first duty station, I went back for a different tech school, computer maintenance this time, and then another assignment at Cheyenne Mountain.  By this time, I was a staff sergeant and was a shift supervisor.  Someone who was not in my chain of command mentored me here, showing me that hard work can be good for the spirit as well as the body.  When he wasn't working at the Mountain, he was working a ranch up in the mountains of Colorado.  I went and helped him a few times, and it was both memorable and rewarding.  Thanks, Lou.

My next assignment was to Geilenkirchen, Germany.  I had a couple of fantastic mentors there.  Master Sgt. Meyer demonstrated true family values, immediately making me a member of his family.  Even though he had only known me for a few days, he invited me and my wife to share Christmas with him and his family.  It was just the first of many times we spent together.  Thanks, Bill.

Another of my mentors there was one of the youngest chiefs I ever met.  He was personable, watched out for his people, rewarded them when they did good, pulled them aside when they could do better, and acted more like a father than a supervisor.  Thanks, Chief Bell.

Then, I joined the Air National Guard.

With my Guard family, I have had opportunity after opportunity to reach my potential.  I have had people tell me almost from day one that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, all you have to do is work at it.  And they were right.

When I got off Active Duty, I had a line number for technical sergeant, and a Branch Chief who said I would be a master sergeant two years later.  That didn't quite come true like that.  I got to Selfridge and the position they had was a staff sergeant position, so I took it.  Then, over time, opportunities arose and I took them.  I had to change units a couple of times, I had to change AFSCs, but I just hung in there.  And I'm still here.

So going back to my first question of why I'm still here, it's because I owe this entity something.  I need to tell the young Airmen just starting out not to sweat the small stuff.  I need to tell them you can reach your dreams.  I need to explain to them what integrity is.  I had the opportunity to have it shown to me and I need to do the same. 

The military in general and the Guard specifically is our family.  I have travelled the world, and seen things I would never have had the opportunity to see had it not been for the military.  It's been a heck of a ride.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.