Greetings from Texas – Wichita Falls, to be precise. The Sun has survived my journey through Air Force Reserve Tech School, and I return to the beloved Genesee Valley. A special thanks to my father and the team of interns for putting their best foot forward. Everyone did an outstanding job and I am grateful.
My first thought when I left was that I would continue to write editorials from afar but the school required complete focus. And now that graduation is near, I’m proud of completing this phase and I’m looking forward to being a part of the 914th Niagara Falls Air Wing and playing my small role in their missions.
Returning to the military after being out for 14 years has been a bit of a transition, and a lot of discoveries. For one thing, the Air Force mentality is quite different from the Army. The Air force is run like a corporation with a military philosophy. What’s been wonderful is seeing inspired young Airmen wanting to serve their country. Before 911 when you told people you were going to serve or were serving, they assumed that this was because you couldn’t afford or couldn’t get into college. That’s not the case with these motivated young soldiers.
Another discovery, for me, is working with women in the Air Force. I was prior service Artillery and women did not serve on the gun line. In my new job as an Aircrew Flight Equipment Apprentice, women play the same roles as men. The Air force has taken the recent issues about sexual assault incredibly seriously and have implemented an absolute zero tolerance policy, which you can see being effective and successful.
Like many businesses, the Air Force is figuring out how to do more with less, with our nation’s security on the line. The good news is that the young men and women entering the Air Force are motivated and take pride in their work. It’s a different pride than before 911, and I must say as an ‘old man’ coming back in I respect them and I am confident that the Air force of the future is in good hands.
And my view of Texas has completely changed. To be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan. But the hospitality and the support the local community shows for the military here is spectacular. Texans love two things – guns and Texas. In addition, though, they have a wonderful cycling community that has embraced me.
Thanks to everyone for their efforts during this period. Looking forward to lighting the region!
NOTE: Josh Williams, Publisher of the GeneseeSun.com is in the Air Force Reserve and has been in Wichita Falls since February attending a training school.