Many many years before I started my healthy living journey, I was a soldier in the United States Armed Forces. I remember like it was yesterday. I was sitting at my desk typing Assignment Orders, listening to Christian music in my cubicle. Nothing was out of the ordinary about that day…. yet.
Keesler Air Force Base
On September 11, 2001, I was just a young Airman on active duty in the US Air Force. I had been enlisted in the military for about a year and a half and was stationed at Keesler AFB in Biloxi Mississippi, my first permanent duty assignment, for about a yea. I was only 20 years old, and a newbie to the military lifestyle. I hadn’t experienced any combat or wartime situations thus far, and I was kind of spoiled because Keesler AFB was closed every other Friday, meaning we got to enjoy 3-day weekends frequently.
I really enjoyed the Airmen and civil servants that I got a chance to serve with at Keesler in Mississippi. My supervisor was a very kind family man, named Technical Sergeant Alvendia, whom I’m extremely grateful to have served under and alongside. I had some hilarious co-workers who made coming to work everyday a blast. During my first permanent duty station, our commander in chief at the time was President George W. Bush. I didn’t know much about politics at the time, so the only things I knew about Baby Bush was that his father was Daddy Bush and they were fellow Texans, like me.
The First Plane
It was another normal day in the office. Everyone had already had their coffee. Everyone had finished waking up. I was sitting at my desk, doing what I did everyday; typing Outbound Assignment Orders while listening to my Christian music playlist. Then one of my civil service co-workers, Mr. Jackson, ran hysterically into the office yelling, “Guys! Guys! A plane just flew into the World Trade Center! It’s on TV right now! Come quick! Hurry!” He jokes so much that none of us didn’t know what to believe. He then runs back out of the office. I jumped up from my desk joining my other coworkers as we ran behind Mr. Jackson to the office 2 doors down. They were one of only a handful of offices with TVs.
Twin Towers Hit
There I stood alongside a room full of soldiers, watching the live news, as the 2nd plane crashed into the Twin Towers. I could feel all of our hearts dropping together at the same time. I bet they were thinking what I was thinking. What is going on? How did this happen? Who on Earth is flying into our buildings? Why the World Trade Center? What are we going to do about it? So many questions. Zero answers.
Base Lock Down
Although we didn’t have a clue as to what just went down, our commander issued a base lock down. No soldiers allowed on base. No soldiers allowed off base. No matter where you were or what you were doing, you were stuck. I think the civilians were stuck too, but they were allowed to pick-up their children from the on-base daycare and elementary school. But no Airmen were allowed to leave. Period. Not only were we not allowed to leave base, we were not allowed to leave the building. So we we’re stuck at work until further notice. That was the beginning of a long day and a long few years.
War On Terror
By the end of the day we learned more details as to what had happened. Needless to say, our lives were never the same. Shortly afterward, President George Bush, our Commander in Chief, declared war against the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11. And within the next 10 months I was sent on a deployment to Iraq, but then diverted at the last minute to Kuwait. My tour to Al Jaber Kuwait was only 4 months, and I say only 4 months because I met soldiers over there who’d been there already for almost a year. Life in the US Air Force was much different compared to the US Marines and US Army. But I am thankful for the experience and the brave soldiers I met while I was deployed to the sandbox. It was truly unforgettable. Pictures of my deployment to Kuwait coming soon and a whole blog about Operation Iraqi Freedom. Stick around!