Joining the U.S. Military

The following essay was submitted by A1C Keshia M. Smedley via our Facebook Essay Challenge where we invited our Facebook Friends to submit a short essay sharing “What is your best experience in (or with) the Military?”

Joining the U.S. Miliary

After brief contemplation, I’ve decided on what my own personal definition of the best experience in (or with) the U.S. Military would be.  I didn’t have to think too long, however, as I honestly believe that joining the U.S. Military would be considered the biggest blessing of my entire life.  Prior to my joining, I was an 18-year-old female without a home, car, or definite plan for life.   I had a decent job but struggled daily to get there by catching rides with friends day after day.  After graduating from High School in 2006 at 17 years old, I decided that I would take a little “break” before going to college.

This break led to a 2-year period of continuous disaster, full of mistakes and personal hurts.  Never the less, I was able to come to my senses and decide that it was time to make a change and do SOMETHING with my life.  I wanted this to be considered “worth” every bit of effort; I had no idea of what was getting ready to become a part of my life story.

On 01 April of 2008, I left all friends and family in Florida for Air Force Basic Training in San Antonio, Texas; since then my life has never been the same.  After 2.5 years of Active Duty service, I constantly make time to sit and reminisce on the past, as well as to dwell on the present. The combination of Service, hard-work, dedication and motivation has led to a number of great things.   I now have a car that runs great, medical and dental benefits, excellent professionalism and job skills, and continuous job security.  Also, I am currently one course away from completing my Associates Degree in Communications, with the Community College of the Air Force.  All of these things would have never been gained in such a quick time period, had I stayed in the same position I was in before enlisting in the Air Force.

There are numerous details that I could write pages about; describing all of the beautiful transformations and understandings I have gained along the journey of my enlistment.  Although I would love to pour all of my appreciation out on paper, I will refrain from doing so.  Instead, I will hold my gratefulness dear to my heart for the rest of my living days.

In closing, I would say that my best experience with the Military would have to be the amazing opportunity to transform my life in a positive aspect.  My exposure to a Military lifestyle has proven to be the best thing that has ever happened to me. I will continue to share my story with others considering the Military, as I am proud to be able to understand what the Air Force motto actually means.

“Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.”


A1C Keshia M. Smedley

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