News: Aerial Port achiever
Story by Senior Master Sgt. George Thompson
SOUTHWEST ASIA-Sometimes mockingly called weekend warriors or part time soldiers by their active duty counterparts, National Guardsman and reservists are a vital piece of the Total Force Integration Air Force. For one airman assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, being a reservist allows her time to pursue other passions while also serving her country.
Sometimes mockingly called weekend warriors or part time soldiers by their active duty counterparts, National Guardsman and reservists are a vital piece of the Total Force Integration Air Force. For one Airman assigned to the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, being a reservist allows her time to pursue other passions while also serving her country.
“It’s like living two completely different lives, that’s why I like it so much,” said Senior Airman Denice Luke.
Luke is an Air Transportation Journeyman deployed from Robins Air Force Base, Ga. to one of the busier aerial hubs in the Air Force Central Command Area of Responsibility. From Dec. 15 through Jan. 15, Luke processed 9,118 passengers, 4,142 tons of cargo and serviced 435 aircraft which culminated in Luke’s selection as flight, squadron, group and ultimately 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Airman of the month.
From basic forklifts, to Mine Resistant Armored Protected Vehicles, 25 K-Loaders and her confessed favorite vehicle the 60 K-Loader, driving is in her nature.
“I like to drive in general, I just get in my car and drive,” said Luke. “My dad is a truck driver he drives cross country moving people and I’ve always wanted to learn how to drive his 18-wheeler so the 60K kind of feels like an 18-wheeler to me.”
When Luke is not making the one weekend a month, six-hour trip from her home in North Carolina to her reserve unit at Warner Robins, she is a first-year certified elementary and special education teacher.
“I don’t do it for the money, or the recognition,” said Luke. “I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was in second grade; teaching is what I want to do with my life.”
Luke, like others members of the reserves, must balance her civilian career with her military service.
“The school I was working at was willing to hire me and give me a job, but they knew I had to deploy,” said Luke.
Between serving her country and teaching in the classroom, Luke still manages to find time to give back to the community. She recently served as chapter president of the Swing Phi Swing social fellowship incorporated, at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
“The point of our organization is to cater to African American women, but we cater to the whole community, performing community service at different events,” said Luke. “I commit a 110 percent of my time to that.”
Luke redeploys next month with fond memories of her time in Southwest Asia, armed with a newfound appreciation for the Air Force and her fellow airmen.
“I learned a lot about my job but I learned more about the people in the Air Force and leadership, which I can carry back to the classroom,” said Luke.