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'First-Year Five' series chronicles experiences of five new Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stephenie Wade
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
About the First-Year Five Series
The first year as an Airman can be the most important in a young enlistee's life. In the first year, Airmen discover whether or not they are cut out for military life as they adapt to physical challenges, develop an aptitude for following orders, and learn to be a team player.

This series follows the first year of enlistment for five Airmen--all who come from diverse social backgrounds and who are learning to perform a wide variety of duties. Is military life what they expected? Are they adjusting well to the work demands? Stay tuned not only in the base newspaper, "Command Post," but also follow along on the blog at

The First-Year Five Airmen are:

· Airman 1st Class Lauren Morales, 21, 15th Operational Weather Squadron

· Airman 1st Class Nicholas McCarty, 24, 375th Communications Support Squadron

· Airman 1st Class Tiffany Blake, 23, 375th Medical Operations Squadron

· Airman 1st Class Landon M. Spaulding, 19, 375th Comptroller Squadron

· Airman 1st Class Joshua Eikren, 24, 375th Public Affairs Office

Airman 1st Class Airman Lauren Morales

Lauren came from a military family and is a self-proclaimed Air Force brat. Her father, Francisco, enlisted in 1988 and is still serving on active duty as a senior master sergeant assigned to the 39th Security Forces Squadron, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Her mother, Nicole, works as an Administrative Assistant for the commander of the 39th Communications squadron there.

"Growing up in the military I have developed a deep respect for those who serve, and I have always known that I would serve," she said. "For my entire life I have lived on or near military bases. I even participated in Junior ROTC for three years at Aviano AB, Italy and Ramstein AB, Germany."

After completing seven months of meteorological training at Keesler AFB, Miss., she was assigned to the 15th Operational Weather Squadron here. On a normal duty day she assists in forecasting for 20 active duty bases in the northeastern U.S. and issues weather watches, warnings and severe weather advisories that could impact the overall mission of the Air Force. She is also instrumental in briefing pilots on expected weather conditions and contributes to the overall outcome of the mission.

Lauren has completed her on-the job-meteorological training and is in the process of completing her 5-level. She aspires to earn her Bachelor's degree in meteorology, commission in the Air Force and continue her military career as a weather officer.

"My personal goals are to make the most of my time and put forth all my effort in everything I do. I want to have a successful Air Force career, just like my father ... he is the main inspiration for my military career and the person want to be," she said.

Airman 1st Class Nicholas McCarty

Nicholas joined the Air Force Dec. 7, 2010 as a Client center technician or computer technician. He doesn't come from a military background but plans on staying in the military. His mother, Danna, works in a cardiology department and his father, Thomas, owns his own business and works as a car mechanic back home in Columbia, Penn.

"I joined the Air Force to get out of my small town of Columbia and start a career," he said. "I wanted to do something that could not only make me a better person but also do something that could allow me to contribute my skills and what I have to offer to make this a better country."

Before he joined he played ultimate Frisbee for colleges in Florida, and he attended Marine Mechanic's Institute, in Orlando, Fla. After attending technical school in Kessler AFB, Miss he was assigned to the 375th Communications Squadron.

"On a daily basis I fix computers that support the TACC mission. I am still part of the Communications Squadron, but it's like it own little entity in there."

Since his time at Scott, he had a chance to be a part of Scott's Honor Guard team. During his short 6 month time there, every Wednesday he took the opportunity to train Reserve Officer Training Corps students at Mascoutah High School color guard techniques.

"I am proud to be base honor guard member. I enjoyed showing them [JROTC members] professionalism of the military and what it is like to work with military members."

His future goals consist of achieving Below-the-Zone, to Senior Airman faster to cross training into the Office of Special Investigations.

Airman 1st Class Tiffany Blake

Tiffany joined the Air Force Feb. 15, 2011 as a Medical Technician. She, too, comes from a military background, her father, Homer, who is from Jamaica, served in the Army and her mother, Jan, from Hawaii, also served in the Army.

Though she was attending college in Leeward Community College, University of Hawaii, she said she "needed to get out of her small town and start a career."

"I wanted to do something that could not just make me a better person, but do something that could allow me to contribute my skills to make this a better country," she said.

After technical school in Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio and in Wright Patterson, Ohio, she was assigned to the 375th Aerospace Medical Squadron as a medical technician. She currently works in the Women's Health clinic, and her training qualifies her to work in any part of the hospital or clinic.

Right now she's focused on her Career Develop Course, obtaining her 5-level and finishing her Community College of the Air Force degree. She said she hopes to have a line number for staff sergeant by the end of her four-year enlistment.

Airman 1st Class Landon Spaulding

Landon joined the military June 21, 2011 as a comptroller customer service apprentice. He also comes from a military background. His, great-grandfather and grandfather and step-father served in the Army as well as his three uncles who served in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps.

"I joined the military to serve my country and be a part of something greater," he said. "I always wanted to be in the military since I was young."

He has four sisters and two brother a large family compared to most and the only one in the military. His father, Robert, owns 4 Wendy's franchises in the Fort Campbell area and his mother Kim Clyner works as a notary and accountant. They both currently live on Fort. Campbell Ky, a short three hour trip from Scott. Before he joined he worked at Wendy's for four years.

"I really like being close to home. I go home at least twice a month to see my family."

Landon is currently working in an additional duty called security forces augmentee where he has been for the past 3 months.

"My job is to assist the base SFS by checking ID's and patrolling the base. I have written 6 parking tickets, I really like this additional duty.

Spaulding is working to complete his upgrade training and hopes to be little league intramural soccer coach on base.

Airman 1st Class Joshua Eikren

Josh joined the military Aug. 16, 2011 in the "open general" category and during basic training the Air Force assigned him as a Public Affairs specialist. It was during his technical school training at Fort Meade, Md., that he married his wife, Lauren, on Nov. 19, 2011, and though they lived apart for four months, she accompanied him to his first duty station here.

"It was exciting to find our first place and be together," he said. "I'm also relieved to get some stability again in my life."

As one of the older Airmen being featured, he said the time he spent before joining the Air Force allowed him to gain much needed life experiences that he feels have made his transition to the Air Force easier.

This Phoenix native, like many others, said he joined to get away from home but he also wanted to get a better education and travel. Though is father, Andrew, served in the Navy as a Lt. Commander during the Vietnam War, military life is new to him, which is why he said he enjoys being in public affairs.

As a public affairs apprentice, he writes articles, take photographs and manages websites that help tell the Air Force story about the members on Scott Air Force Base.
"My job is important because without it the public would not be aware of all the great things we do," he said. "I also enjoy that I have a creative job where I get to take photographs and write articles on a daily basis - it's a fun job!"

During his off time he said he enjoys spending time with his new dog, Ellie, watching movies and listening to rock-n-roll music.