Becoming less reserved in the Air Force Reserve

  • Published
  • By Senior Senior Airman Kimberly L. Touchet
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Each Airman joins the service with a “why”, which can vary from continued education, job stability, medical care and other benefits.

Airman 1st Class Kacey Dao’s, 403rd Force Support Squadron services apprentice, Air Force journey began after moving from Vietnam, while working as a cashier in a restaurant frequented by military members. She was impressed with how sharp the Airmen looked in their uniforms, and over time became curious about what Air Force life was really like.

She began researching the military and found there were more benefits than she had initially expected, like traveling and the opportunity to become financially independent.

“I wanted to challenge myself to join the Air Force, to support myself without my family helping and to be independent,” said Dao.

Dao’s fiancé, a military member, played a supportive role in her journey, teaching her about the Air Force and what to expect.

“There’s a lot of motivation I got from him,” said Dao. “When I got to my first base, Keesler, I met my unit and my first impression was that they were like a family. I am the youngest in my shop, and I kind of feel like they've taken care of me. With everything that I don't know, they have helped me figure it out.”

One of the challenges Dao had to face in becoming an Airman was her fear of speaking to strangers.

“A1C Dao was very quiet when she first arrived, but she has stepped way outside her comfort zone and is willing to speak up and ask questions,” said Senior Master Sgt. Lisa Baldelli, 403rd FSS sustainment superintendent. “She is very eager to learn, and she is very eager to teach her culture. You can get her to smile a lot now, too! She has become a great team player and a big part of the FSS family.”

With her Air Force family and family from Vietnam behind her, Dao has been supported in her educational and career goals of obtaining a Healthcare Administration degree.

“If you are willing to learn, and I know sometimes it can be harmful like leaving family behind when you have to leave for your mission training or deployment, but it is all worth it,” said Dao. “Becoming an Airman is the best decision of my life.”