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Former Marine finds pride in Air Force blues

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Crumel Lee Mooring
  • 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Equal Opportunity office
For eight years I served proudly in the U.S. Marine Corps. Honor, Courage and Commitment were my core values. I had answered my nations call and was leading in a fashion I could have never imagined.

I switched over to the Air Force in search of a different challenge and more educational options.

I remember the first time I put on my service uniform. I asked myself "what had I done?" It was real baggy and I looked like a flight attendant from United Airlines.

Adapting to this new culture and way of life was difficult at first. Then, along came Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Tart. This NCO took me under his wing and started mentoring me. His guidance helped me achieve all my goals and his advice stays with me even to this day.

After making a permanent change of station move to a new base, I once again searched far and wide for the ideal wingman, leader and warrior to aspire to be. I finally met Command Chief Master Sgt. Mark Clark. I saw a burning in his soul to serve his country and take care of Airmen. He always had a story to tell and some wisdom to share. Every time he opened his mouth, you hung on his every word and stood ready clutching your pack, waiting for him to say, "follow me". That was an American Airman.

I've always thought of myself as a squared away NCO. I thought no one could come close. After all, I had been a Marine. In answering my nations call, I arrived here a few weeks ago and met several senior NCOs who were "squared away" beyond belief and true guardians of freedom and justice. Then, I met a staff sergeant who was the epitome of what an NCO should be, a sentry and avenger. As I a travel around this base, I am seeing the best and brightest our country has to offer.

This all leads me to the true inspiration for this story; an Airman dedicated to defending our country with his life. I met a C-130 flight engineer, during a flightline open house.

He explained the complexities of his job to a group of officers and enlisted members. He humbly suggested he was our nation's sword and shield. It was truly amazing to see the level of responsibility bestowed upon this junior NCO. Speaking with him gave me such pride in our service knowing it was individuals like this who would never leave an Airman behind. Our country is in good hands.

I used to tell people I was born and raised in the Corps. Well, that may be the case, but now, there are rivers of Air Force Blue and Gold running through my veins.

Look around you today, right where you are, the world's finest fighting force is definitely ours.

Interacting with outstanding Airmen has helped me rise to a different level. Mentoring was the key to my success. If you're not a mentor, be one. If you don't have a mentor, find one.
As far as the service dress uniform? I can't wait for the opportunity to put it on again and show everyone "I am an American Airmen... I am faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor".