Using talent to represent the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brittany Liddon
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
"It feels absolutely amazing to hit this milestone, like hitting the anthem lottery," said Tech. Sgt. Sonya Bryson, 6th Maintenance Group NCO in charge of maintenance plans, scheduling and documentation.

Bryson, a Greenville, S.C. native, performed the National Anthem for the 1,000th time in her Air Force career during the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game on Dec. 4, 2014.

"My most memorable time singing the National Anthem is the very first hockey game I did for the Tampa Bay Lightning," said Bryson. "After I sang, the crowd erupted into such a loud response, it scared me. By far, that has been the best experience on the books, which is why I wanted to celebrate this milestone with them."

Although Bryson has been singing since a young age, she nervously sang the National Anthem for the first time in 2003 at a training conference when she worked with Air Force Recruiting. Since then, Bryson has sung at numerous retirement, promotion and change-of-command ceremonies, as well as community and sporting events to meet this milestone.

"She's phenomenal," said Dave Andreychuk, former professional ice hockey player and Tampa Bay Lightning's vice president in charge of fans. "We were happy to celebrate this occasion with her."

Bryson said this milestone could not be possible without the support of her supervision, coworkers and family being understanding and flexible.

"I literally get chills every single time she sings the National Anthem," expressed Col. Reginald Godbolt, 6th MXG commander. "I brag on her every chance I get and I make sure everyone knows that she's from the Maintenance Group. I am extremely proud of her and proud that she is part of our group."

Bryson serves as an ambassador in blue in the community as she uses her talent to represent the Air Force.

"It's surreal. I can remember never wanting to sing alone and being so nervous I would sing with my eyes closed the entire time," recollected Bryson. "It has been an amazing journey and I am far from done!"