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December 8th, 2017





           


 
            
 
 
  
 

Not your basic Christmas

The base ushered in the holiday season during the 28th Bomb Wing tree lighting ceremony in front of the Freedom Chapel at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D, Dec. 4, 2013. The evening included remarks by Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th BW commander, carolers, a visit from Santa Claus and holiday goodies. (U.S. Air Force Photo my Airman 1st Class Rebecca Imwalle / Released)

The base ushered in the holiday season during the 28th Bomb Wing tree lighting ceremony in front of the Freedom Chapel at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D, Dec. 4, 2013. The evening included remarks by Col. Kevin Kennedy, 28th BW commander, carolers, a visit from Santa Claus and holiday goodies. (U.S. Air Force Photo my Airman 1st Class Rebecca Imwalle / Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- The Christmas holidays are often seen as a peaceful and joyful time spent with loved ones; however these words are not commonly used when describing Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

It was Christmas morning in dormitory A-5 at the 322nd Training Squadron, and I woke up expecting another morning of fast-paced, non-stop drill, physical training and lots of yelling. The morning started much like any other day - reveille followed by dorm preparation and breakfast, but then we all lined up at our lockers... we were getting our Christmas phone call.

With tears flowing throughout the dorm, I called my parents and their warm voices transcended through my phone and impacted me in a way no other phone call in BMT did. Everyone was just thankful for an opportunity to speak with their loved ones, even though it would only last a mere 15 minutes.

The day continued with drill practice - something that I enjoyed and even look forward to sometimes. This was followed by lunch at the chow hall, where we usually enjoyed something different from the lunches we ate back home.

When my flight arrived at the chow hall, many of us were surprised to find the 322nd TRS commander behind the serving line, alongside the first sergeant and other squadron leaders. The chow hall had somehow transformed into a place bustling with the sights and sound of trainees savoring a holiday meal. Even the tables were laid out with decorative table cloths, candles and napkins. We all missed our friends and families, but for a moment, we celebrated the day's rewards.

Afterward, we all gathered in the dayroom for our daily Airman's time with our military training instructor, Staff Sgt. Katrevious Swift. With it only being our first week of BMT, no one knew exactly what to expect.

Our MTI started Airman's time by allowing trainees to share their holiday traditions. Some shared extravagant stories about venturing into a forest to pick out a Christmas tree for their living room and others shared stories about opening one present on Christmas Eve.

When all was said and done, we went back to our dorms, laid in our bunks and went to
sleep. The next morning when we woke up, everything was back to normal, almost as if the activities from the day before never took place.

Since then, I've thought a lot about my time at Lackland and have shared my experiences with a lot of different people - the most prominent one being Christmas.

Christmas was the only time when I felt like my flight really came together. It proved to me how important the holidays are and how much we need that feeling of being cared for, especially when we're far from home and the people we love. After all, the holidays are about spending time with those individuals you care about most.

So I ask you, what are you focusing on during this holiday season?