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    From F-16 Avionics Maintenance to Caring for Infants of Military Families

    Beale Child Development Center

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Frederick Brown | Debbie Kehishian, 9th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center (CDC) infant...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    9th Reconnaissance Wing

    By Debbie Kehishian, Child Development Center

    BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- My journey at Beale Air Force Base began in the hot summer of 2007 when my family and I had a permanent change of duty station (PCS) from Cannon AFB, New Mexico. However, that is not the beginning of my Air Force story.

    It began in 1992, when I enlisted and was sent to tech school to learn the avionics systems of the F-16 at Lowery AFB, Colorado. During my first week, I met the man I would marry and after completing school, we were off to Hill AFB, Utah. During my time at Hill, I had my daughter, and immediately deployed with my squadron. This was very difficult for me, being a deployed mother of a 1-year-old.

    While it was a tough time, I truly appreciated the gravity of my duty. I understood that the utmost of my attention and care must be placed in repairing the avionics systems of the jets. I understood lives were on the line and the mission was at stake.

    As I approached the end of enlistment, I was faced with the difficult decision of what to do next. My then husband had orders to Korea. Knowing the challenges of a dual military lifestyle, I chose to separate March 1996 and happily became a stay-at-home mother of what would become three children.

    Embracing a new chapter in life, we were off on a new adventure. Our bases were all stateside, I was happy and enjoyed watching my children grow. Upon arriving here at Beale and getting settled in, change came again with a divorce after 17 years of marriage, 13 of them being at home with my children. In seeking employment outside the house, I turned to what I knew best, children. I applied at the Child Development Center and began a new career in August 2008.

    I chose to turn my skills and experiences into opportunities at the Child Development Center. I knew I could affect the lives of children and their parents by providing a safe and loving place for their children to learn and grow. I focused my experiences as the active-duty member deploying as well as the spouse staying behind to inform my actions and to support the children in my care.

    I embraced Beale as an opportunity and chapter where I can continue to serve military families and their children. Each of my almost 16 years at the CDC has brought me joy and sadness. Joy of getting to know new children and their parents every few months and sadness when they move onto the next phase. It is wonderful to be able to see them continue to grow and witness their personality and spirit. Ultimately, they do leave the center by either enrolling in kindergarten or by PCS’ing to another base. Both are part of the job.

    For the last 6 years, I have been a lead teacher in an infant classroom. This age is one of my favorites to care for. Parents come in uncertain about leaving a very precious part of their family with strangers; while they believe they will be safe they are worried about the love their child will receive with so many others in the room. It is my mission to help reassure them with words, and more importantly actions, that their child is now a part of my CDC family and will receive the best of care and all the love and reassurance that one so small deserves as they reach their milestones and grow.

    I have found this experience to be extremely fulfilling. Looking back on my service, I find myself drawing an interesting comparison to both of my duties. As a maintainer, I had the good fortune of keeping the jets in the fight and driving the mission. Now, as a CDC provider, I have the passionate duty of maintaining loving care for the children of the service and keeping their parents in the fight and maintaining their bright futures.

    In this way, I hope I ease the minds of those who work to serve our country, that they and their spouses can continue to work without the worry that comes from leaving your children in the care of others.


    Date Taken: 04.30.2024
    Date Posted: 04.30.2024 17:55
    Story ID: 469921

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