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    349th AMW Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profile: Staff Sgt. Steve Kwak

    Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profile: Staff Sgt. Steve Kwak

    Photo By Daniel Peterson | U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steve Kwak is a Korean American serving in the Air Force...... read more read more



    Story by Tech. Sgt. Daniel Peterson 

    349th Air Mobility Wing

    May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and throughout the month we celebrate amazing men and women serving in the Air Force Reserve with the 349th Air Mobility Wing. U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steve Kwak, from the 349th Recruiting Squadron, is one such Airmen proudly serving in uniform.

    Born in South Korea, Kwak immigrated to the United States with his family when he was 11 years old. While attending community college, Kwak decided to do more with his life.

    “I was wanting to do something where I could help people, but I didn't know what career field,” said Kwak. “Then I realized I could join the Air Force. I did and that's where my life really began.”

    Kwak initially enlisted active duty in 1990 as a surface freight transportation troop. Toward the end of his enlistment, Kwak was stationed at Osan Air Base, South Korea. This gave him the opportunity to revisit home and be close to family there.

    “My main reason for wanting to go back to Korea was because I speak Korean and love Korean food,” Kwak joked. “But also, my grandmother was still there at the time, and it meant I could see her every other week.”

    After separating active duty, Kwak worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs for several years, finding a way to assist fellow veterans. Wanting to find another way to help people, Kwak decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Washington State University using his education benefits.

    “One of the reasons I chose the career field was that I had a family member who was suffering from a mental disorder,” said Kwak. “I felt the need to understand what goes on with people who are suffering from mental illness. I wanted to be able to intervene and provide help for those who would need it.”

    Kwak used his education to become a mental health technician when he came back to the Air Force 17 years later, but this time with the Air Force Reserve. Kwak then deployed to Al Udeid Air Base as a chaplain’s assistant, providing spiritual support to service members overseas. Now Kwak serves the Air Force Reserve and local community as a full-time recruiter for the 349 AMW. As an Air Force Reserve recruiter, Kwak is now responsible for community outreach in and around Travis Air Force Base, to include Solano, Napa, Marin, and Sonoma counties.

    “Getting somebody through the door to start a new chapter in life that I believe is going to be beneficial to them,” Kwak said. “No matter what career field, it's just making them part of this Air Force Reserve community that is such a huge reward.”



    Date Taken: 05.01.2023
    Date Posted: 05.04.2023 14:40
    Story ID: 444021

    Web Views: 93
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