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The journey as a civilian working at SAFB

  • Published
  • By Samantha Schaffer
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

My journey as a civilian working at Scott Air Force Base started with an important learning opportunity. On my first day as an intern at the Public Affairs office, I was introduced to my future coworkers.

It was naive to assume this would be a normal experience. As I met the people I would be working with, they stood and greeted me with a smile and a handshake.

The genuine smiles and gratitude for my arrival made me feel like an equal, someone who was respected. This helped immensely while being in a new place with expectations of strength and order which, in all honesty, can be a bit intimidating.

After a few days of working at the base, I was finally comfortable with and less nervous about entering the gates that protected the base.

Although, I did get caught off guard one day as I was stopped at the gates. I got out my temporary ID and handed it to the guard on duty, but instead of giving it back he held onto it. I was worried I wouldn’t have access to the base after my lunch break. After seeing the concern on my face, he informed me that it was a routine barrier test. I sat and watched as the barriers raised and lowered. I felt secure seeing the methods in which people on the base are being protected.

As I was leaving my first assignment at the civil engineering building, the familiar tune of our national anthem rang out in the streets. I stood frozen, unaware of what was happening. Everyone around me stopped what they were doing and saluted. It pains me to admit that I forgot an essential duty of the American people: We should stop and salute or place our hand on our heart to respect the nation and our armed forces when we hear our anthem.

As I continued my journey, my co-workers continued to bring airy laughter and bright smiles to my day. Working on the base, more specifically public affairs, was not at all what I expected. I was soon accustomed to the little community that dwelled in the photojournalism section. While I am still adjusting to my position, I am proud to tell people where I work and what the Air Force stands for.

Being a civilian working on a military base has had its surprises. It has been an interesting journey into a place I’ve lived near my entire life, but have never entered. I have been reminded of the respect our nation and our servicemen and women deserve.