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The Evolution of an Airman

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Civilian

Think you're tough stuff because you are joining the Air Force and all the girls will dig you once you learn how to fly a plane in basic training.

Airman Basic

You're shaved bald, given a uniform that is two sizes too big, and have developed a nervous tic from some T.I. screaming at you all day. You don't think about the girls at home, but you think that female airman at the snack bar at the Lackland Chapparell is checking you out. You push up your government-issue glasses and work up the nerve to ask her to dance. You don't want to learn how to fly a plane. You want to fly on a plane home.

Airman

You've graduated basic training AND tech school and you are proud to be in the military. You think all the chicks dig you AND your one stripe while you are home on leave. You call everyone, "sir," including veterans, your mother, and that slightly-masculine looking mail lady. You spend an hour putting your uniform together at night, using a ruler and level to make sure your one ribbon signifying basic training graduation is centered perfectly on your uniform, as if the uniform itself didn't already signify your graduation from basic training. You obsessively check your name tag in the mirror because when you breathe in a little too much it looks slightly uneven. You spend your entire pay on dry cleaning with extra heavy starch and go through a can of Windex and furniture polish each week on your corofram shoes. Damn, you look sharp.

Airman 1st Class

You are a mentor to all those younger troops, and feel it is your duty to instill pride as you strive to achieve status as senior airman. You now call your mother, "mom," you make fun of the slightly masculine mail lady behind her back and call every enlisted person, with the exception of chief master sergeants, by their first name. Anyone named Jim is an automatic, "Jimbo." You've been able to stretch the Windex and furniture polish to last for an entire month, though you haven't used it in your dorm room because why clean your room? It's not like there are any inspections or anything.

Senior Airman

Twelve months after putting on this stripe you think everyone should give you more respect, because had you been in the service 13 years earlier, you'd be a buck sergeant by now. You've learned that laying a towel on the floor is not a good way to iron your shirt, so you buy an ironing board on you AAFES DPP/Star card, and you think it's a good deal because you only have to pay $3 a month on it for the next five years - just 30 years less than it will take you to pay off the Hyundai you bought from the unscrupulous car dealer outside the base when you were a one-striped airman trying to impress the girls with your stripe AND new car. This makes no difference because you sold the car for $1,000 before you PCS'd to Korea two years earlier, and you haven't seen it since.

Staff Sergeant

You realize you need to set an example, so you take your uniforms to the cleaners once every couple of weeks, then iron it the rest of the time until it no longer maintains a natural crease. You can't remember which pants material is authorized because it has changed so often so you just wear anything blue in your closet and hope no one notices. No one does notice because they are equally as confused, except maybe the new Airman in your office

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