An Airman's career

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Many Airmen like Col. Theresa Rodriguez, 509th Medical Group commander, decided to come into the Air Force right after nursing school to pursue a life of adventure, pride and satisfaction.

The Jackson, Miss. native said the Air Force was mostly what she expected. She met new people and gained new experiences, but there were other things she didn't expect.
"I had been in a little over a year when I lost my mom," she said. "I took emergency leave and I didn't make it in time.

"The next year I wanted to take leave on Mother's Day to go lay flowers at her grave site but we had an exercise and I couldn't go," Rodriguez said. "I wondered 'what did I get myself into?'"

She said she luckily had a great boss who helped her get through the tough times and encouraged her not to give up on the Air Force just yet.

"She told me to try another assignment before I made a decision to get out," Rodriguez said. "That was the best advice I ever received. I think I just had a little trouble with the initial adjustment and having to deal with that crisis."

Without giving the Air Force a second chance she said she would've never gotten the opportunity to live in Japan or see the world.

"You have a choice to make your life better no matter where you come from," she said. "I know the military isn't for everyone but the fact people join the Air Force means something attracted them to join."

Rodriguez encouraged Airmen to do the best they can while they are in and take advantage of the opportunities, so if they do decide to get out they can transition into the civilian world more prepared than they were when they came in.

"Try to at least get your associate degree done and learn as much as you can from your career," she said. "You never know how it can benefit you down the line."