By SMSgt Lucero Stockett, USAF.
Born and raised in one of the most dangerous cities (Juarez) in Mexico, and with little to nothing, my appreciation for the land of opportunity (USA) grew when I moved to the city of El Paso, TX at the tender age of 10. Growing up with ample support of the US government and both my parents hard at work, I was taught to appreciate the little things in life.
My mother taught me to stay humble and my father taught me to be loyal. My mother made it a habit to always point out the opportunities that where afforded by living in the states, compared to my family members living in Mexico. I remember going to a school that was free, with free lunch and transportation. I was always grateful that I got to receive all of this for free and to top it off, I got to learn a new language.
When the time came to graduate from high school, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to give back to the country who had given me everything, it was my turn to pay back and pay forward, so that others could have what I had growing up. I enlisted in the USAF with a guaranteed job of an Inflight Refueling Operator. Now, I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t even know what that was, other than the job was a flying job, and that the Air Force was going to pay for my living arrangements, food, and education. What more can a girl ask for? I was so naïve that I didn’t even know you got paid! This 17-year-old heard free room and board and she said, “sign me up!” Needless to say, when I realized we got a paycheck, I was on cloud nine!
I was flying around on a KC-10 at the age of 17, refueling airplanes all around the world, seeing places I only could imagine growing up, and I didn’t even have a driver’s license; but I could refuel multimillion dollar airplanes in midair. My military journey has taken me to refuel and transport cargo and passengers all around the world. I have deployed multiple times and have supported my brothers and sisters in combat. I have volunteered to be a Military Training Instructor at Lackland, AFB and have loved transforming civilians into Warrior Airmen.
I joined the military not to escape poverty or for a better life. I joined the military to give back to those who need it the most. To repay this beautiful country who has given me more than I could have ever imagined. I found my purpose in the military, the purpose to take care of people and stay true to what both my father and mother taught me.
Stay loyal and humble, empower others to be the best version of themselves. Help others succeed and when it gets hard, remember where you came from, dig deep into your roots and stay positive, because things could always be worse. Make a change that has a positive impact and above all, live your purpose to the fullest.
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