It’s so interesting how the further I get into this project, the more passionate I get. Since day one I have fell deeper in passion with this project and helping the military. There are so many things I’ve learned. The interviews have definitely taught me more about each military branch and I hope they’re doing the same for you. This one was done with Staff Sergeant Davis who is active duty in the USAF. Enjoy!
Staff Sergeant Paul Davis Junior
United States Air Force
Staff Sergeant Paul Davis has served a proud 7 years 3 months and 12 days in the US Air Force. He is currently stationed in Colorado, filling the position as an enlisted recruiter. His story to becoming an Airman is very inspiring.
Why did you decide to join the military?
I felt like it was the best opportunity for me at the time. I didn’t have the best grades, so college was not an option. I was too young. I was too immature. I needed to change my life, so I joined the Air Force.
How long have/did you serve in the military?
I’ve been in the Air Force 7 years 3 months and 12 days.
Where were you stationed?
Whiteman Air Force Base in Knob Noster, Missouri for 15 months
Eielson Air Force Base in North Pole, Alaska for 4 years
How did you feel while you were in the military?
Not lonely at all because you are a wing man. Like when I was in Alaska, I was away from my family, but your wing man and the camaraderie of the Air Force makes it so that you’re not lonely.
That’s what’s amazing about the Air Force: the camaraderie and the brotherhood of it.
If there are times you feel lonely, you have your wing man, your co-worker, and everybody as your extended family.
What has it been like while you have been serving?
It’s been great! You always have your rough times when things aren’t going the way you wanted them to go. It’s been great. There’s not one day that I have regretted being in the Air Force.
What was training like?
Basic Training? It was different, because it was out of my comfort zone. The first week was the hardest week. But after the first week, you kind of get adapted to it. It becomes just routine-like, and you just go with the flow. You do what you got to do. You get used to it. It was different, but it wasn’t hard.
You enlisted, what was your experience like?
It was cool. I just remember bits and pieces. I feel like it gives you certain traits that will help you be successful when you eventually get out of the military. I think it has been a great thing for me.
What specifically is your job in the military?
Right now, I am an enlisted recruiter. In my prior job, I was a services craftsman. In services we work in the dining facilities, the fitness centers, and the hotels on base. We also work honor guard, unit deployment managers, and mortuary affairs. I spent some time working in the dining facility. For my last 3 years, I was the honor guard in mortuary affairs noncommissioned officer in charge. Pretty cool experience.
Have you built good friendships so far?
Oh, yes, most definitely! My 7 years in the Air Force I feel like I can go anywhere in the US, and I have someone that I know that lives there that I can contact. It is like, ‘Hey, what’s going on? I’m coming to town.’ They are like, ‘Cool, let’s hang out. Crash at your place. Where’s a good place to eat?’ I feel like I have pretty good connections and networks all over and not just in the US but everywhere.
What does your family think of you being in the military?
They love it! I come from a family where everybody has served. Like on my dad’s side, my dad, my uncles, and my grandfather all served in different branches. My family is proud of me. They probably wouldn’t consider it a family tradition, but I do. They are proud of me and my accomplishments.
Were there any moments you were afraid?
I was probably scared the first night of basic training just because they were yelling and throwing stuff. It was a little bit different. When I had to leave my family to go to Iraq I was scared, because it was different. You heard negative things about it. When I got there, it was a complete 180 from what I heard. I had so much fun. That was really the 2 times I would say I was scared.
Did you serve in a war?
Yes. I served during Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq.
Do you feel like your career with the military has a successful and fulfilling one?
Yes, most definitely. Somebody has to do it. If we love America, we have to keep contributing to keep America great. I feel like it’s been a successful one. It’s not over. I still have a lot of goals that I want to accomplish, but it has been a successful career.
The final two questions below gives the interviewee the opportunity to share their voice in the issue “Connecting & Protecting” is addressing.
Do you feel like there is a disconnection between the military and the general public?
Somewhat. People don’t understand what being in the military is about. When people think military, they think war. They don’t know what it is that we do. They think that we are like machines, and that we wake up at 5 o’clock every morning. We are just machines all day, but we are day to day people. We live day to day lives. We are just held to a higher standard than the average civilian. The big thing to me is I feel like people don’t really know what being in the military, or specifically being in the Air Force, is about. What they see, they watch movies, and they hear rumors, but they don’t really know what it is that we do.
Do you have any ideas on how this issue can be fixed?
Honestly, I think it needs to be talked about more in schools. It is looked at as a backup option to everything. I don’t think it should be anyone’s back up option. It is such a great thing it could be your main option. I think people need to be more educated about the military. There are only so many Air Force recruiters per so many students. We can’t reach everybody. I just feel there is a need for a more general education on the military and what the military is about.