Religious Affairs Airman takes “leap of faith” enlisting in Air Force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zachary Foster
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing, Public Affairs

For Airman Nya Hargis, a 6th Air Refueling Wing chaplain’s assistant, the call to serve came through deeply rooted family ties.

Her mother served as a civilian chapel secretary at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona, and her father retired after serving 20 years as an Air Force engineer.

Although her parents divorced early in her life, they remained “best friends” and committed to setting a positive example for Hargis. She was born and raised with her mother in Tucson, where she was indoctrinated into the church. Her father traveled for work, occasionally bringing Hargis and her siblings along to see the world.

Gaining a sense of adventure from her father’s military service, and a sense of devotion from her mother, Hargis found a path that would pay tribute to both of her parent’s contributions to the Air Force, as a chaplain’s assistant.

“I feel everyone in my support system helped me through the process,” Hargis said. “My friends, family, God— they’ve all helped me along this path and guided me to where I needed to be. Right here at the chapel, and I want to do the same for others.”

Not only did Hargis’ parents provide a positive influence to join, but she also had help from her childhood best friend, U.S. Air Force Airman Rachelle Brown, a defender with the 91st Missile Security Operations Squadron, Minot AFB, North Dakota.

“My best friend and I actually joined at the same time,” Hargis said. “We did the entire process together. She was the one who pushed me to finally take that first step to just see the recruiter.”

The Air Force’s “buddy system” allowed Hargis and Brown to be together through every step of the process. From the recruitment center to basic training, they’d rely on one another, using their previous connection to face challenges head on.

“Becoming part of something greater than myself has been such an accomplishment,” Brown said. “To not let fear of the unknown overcome me but push me instead.”

Following basic training, the duo would part ways as they pursued their individual careers.
Brown worked in security forces, honing her protection skills, and Hargis entered religious affairs where she could help others find clarity the way she had.

Hargis has served in the Air Force for just a year, but during that time she’d discovered a life-long passion, to “help as many people” as she can for as long as she can.

“It’s been a really great year in the Air Force,” Hargis said. “I want to be able to inspire some hope to someone who is in a similar position as I was in, however I can.”

Now, Hargis is working to develop her technical skills, using her time here at MacDill as a steppingstone towards a career devoted to helping others in their time of need.

“The experience I’m getting right now is laying the framework for a life-long career helping others,” Hargis said. “The hands-on experience of getting to know people and understanding how to help them deal with life is invaluable.”

Hargis is one example of Airmen everywhere who’ve taken the “leap of faith” by enlisting in the Air Force. For more information on how to take the first steps towards military service, visit