From Shipping to Basic to Shipping Boxes

  • Published
  • By Airman Zeeshan Naeem
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

From late night study sessions in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, to keeping track of millions of dollars worth of supplies, Airman 1st Class Norman Winston had to adjust to life in the U.S. Air Force he never expected to have.

Winston, now a 325th Logistics Readiness Squadron material management apprentice, graduated high school from Southern Preparatory Academy, a military boarding school with aspirations of commissioning into the Air Force as an officer.  However, not everything turned out the way Winston expected. After getting halfway through college, Winston was unable to achieve his degree due to financial difficulties.

“I struggled making a living with minimum wage jobs,” Winston explained. “My friends were recommending that I enlist first so I could at least live by myself, so that’s what I did. I wanted to become an independent adult, so I decided my best option was to speak to a recruiter and join the Air Force.”

As a new Airman, Winston has grown to appreciate the connections he’s made with the people he’s surrounded by. The knowledge and wisdom gained from a variety of experiences has improved Winston’s understanding of the Air Force.

“The people I’ve met since enlisting has been my favorite part about joining the Air Force,” said Winston. “I’ve built close relationships with people from [basic military training], technical school, and now here at Tyndall. I’ll cherish the memories I’ve made with them for a long time.”

The Air Force presents many opportunities in a multitude of career fields for Airmen, both in and out of the uniform. One of the best resources being camaraderie and wingmanship. Through getting direct advice, Winston has been able to obtain a plethora of personal and professional knowledge.

“I’m very proud of Winston; he’s led the way on many projects,” 325th LRS central storage supervisor Staff Sgt. Marcus McCormick explained. “He’s grown in the past couple of months from a sheltered Airman to a leadership role. I trust in him because he knows how to be professional and set the standard.”

Winston works at the central storage shop for supply. The job consists of storing and processing various amounts of equipment used across the 325th Fighter Wing, and validating that it has been input into the system for tracking purposes.

“We always say planes can’t fly without supply,” said Winston. “Our career field is one of those that if we do our job right no one really notices, but the moment we mess up everyone’s banging on our door. It’s a career field that the Air Force couldn’t function without. We keep everything moving as far as parts.”

Winston still intends to commission upon the completion of his degree, and with his experience working in the Air Force, he has been provided with a perspective he didn’t know he needed.

“I know prior enlisted officers are often well respected because they know what the enlisted life is like,” stated Winston. “I want to be that kind of leader for Airmen one day.”