Through the eyes of an Airman

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rito Smith
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Education, traveling, patriotism; these are just a few reasons people sign the line and make the oath to defend their country.

Senior Airman Courtney Chapa was just 20-years-old when she signed the line and made a promise to herself to wear the uniform of her country with pride and confidence.

“I was going to school in Pittsburgh, and it was just too expensive,” said Chapa, a broadcast journalist with the 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office. “I knew there was no way I could pay for it, and I knew my family couldn’t pay for it. So I found my way to the recruiter with my friend.”

A little while before Chapa was set to go to basic military training, where she would spend the next eight and a half weeks of her life learning how to become an Airman, her recruiter informed her of a broadcast opening which she immediately jumped at.

“I always wanted to be a writer for a fashion magazine,” said Chapa as she explains her motivations behind taking the broadcast job.

A broadcast journalist has the unique job of telling not only the Air Force story but also each and every Airman’s stories.

"Broadcast journalists tell stories by gathering interviews and video clips and then compiling them into a multimedia product," said Airman 1st Class Mariette Adams, a photojournalist with the 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office.

While Chapa’s goals led her to being a broadcast journalist, it was her adventurous side that led her to choose the Air Force.

“I was nervous because I never pictured myself being in the military,” said Chapa. “But, I’m an adventurous person; I would describe myself as a wanderlust.”

Being a broadcast journalist has given Chapa opportunities to travel overseas, meet the woman that would become her wife, and experience many things that she otherwise may not have.

 “When I was stationed at an American Forces Network station overseas, I did a lot of radio,” said Chapa. “I had so much fun planning my own shows, interviewing people and listening to music.”

One of Chapa’s favorite stories she covered overseas was one in Germany about a hockey team who came together to create a local tournament to honor a logistics Airman who was shot and killed at the Frankfurt Airport a few years before.

“I was passionate about that piece, so I think it turned out really well,” said Chapa. “But I think the coolest part of our job is getting to meet new people.”

While it only took a few moments to sign on the line, her decision to join the Air Force has had a lasting impact on Chapa’s life, goals and her experiences.

“I don’t know if I will stay in the Air Force or get out, but what I do know is that I would like to have a kid in the future and travel the world,” said Chapa. “I never want to stop traveling.”