Approximately 8 years ago, I graduated from Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. I know, I know...I can hear some of you *gasping* right now! It's true. I'm a military girl in a military family. My father was a top gun fighter pilot and my brother was a crew chief. I was born on an Air Force Base (Davis Monthan, Tuscon, AZ) 30 years ago and I was a photographer in the Air National Guard (North Dakota and Nebraska) for 6 years (1998-2004). Basic training is such an intense time of emotion and physical strain...you can't help but make lasting friendships, because if you don't, you're utterly alone. It was the greatest spiritual time of my life...the ultimate in simplicity. The only possessions I had for 6 1/2 weeks were my clothes and my Bible. Some nights, I would pull my blankets over my head and snuggle in with my flashlight and read God's promises over and over. I understood the importance of memorizing scripture during that time...it was the one thing they could not take away from me.
My subsequent technical training was 6 months long. I was stationed at Fort Meade, MD. It's such a gorgeous part of the country...I was so blessed by being there. We spent many weekends in Annapolis & Baltimore. Washington, D.C. was close as well.
I lived in an extremely diverse community of people and became friends with quite an interesting bunch. Bethann was from South Carolina and could turn anyone's head, anywhere. She had a southern drawl to die for...and the attitude to match. She went on to be a combat photographer in Afghanistan. Lee was from near New York City...complete with the accent as well. He went on to be a police officer in Middletown, NY. I've never forgotten them...and often wonder how they are doing.
Many memories have faded...but photos bring them back to life. I found a bunch of them while cleaning this week. I scanned and uploaded them to Flickr with a few notes. See them here.
My days in the military were difficult at times...and great at times...but worth every moment. I am SO glad I got out when I did, but I have so much respect for others that are still serving. I have changed so much since I wore that uniform...I have new opinions, new ideas. But I will always remember my time serving our country with a happy heart.