44 Airmen and a Sailor graduate from Tinker Airman Leadership School

Airman Leadership School Class 18-B graduates. (Courtesy photo)

Airman Leadership School Class 18-B graduates. (Courtesy photo)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Forty-four Airmen and one Sailor graduated from Tinker’s Airman Leadership School on Feb. 8. Graduates are:

 

137th Special Operations Force Support Squadron

Senior Airman Caleb Lakins 

 

138th Maintenance Squadron

Senior Airman Caleb Snovel 

 

284th Air Support Operations Squadron

Senior Airman Wesley Kubie, Distinguished Graduate

 

31st Intelligence Squadron

Senior Airman Hyperion Siira

 

507th Medical Squadron

Senior Airman London Russell 

 

552nd Air Control Networks Squadron 

Senior Airman Helen Liberty

Senior Airman William Tino

Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Reschke

Senior Airman William Monday

 

552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Senior Airman Michael Gardner

Senior Airman John Dallara

Senior Airman Joseph Spears IV, Leadership Award

Senior Airman Darnell Ellis

Senior Airman Derek Powlis

Senior Airman Sean Omalley

Senior Airman Aaron Shroyer

 

552nd Maintenance Group

Senior Airman Tyler Wilson

Staff Sgt. Lewis Jones III

 

552nd Maintenance Squadron 

Senior Airman Garrett Hayes

Senior Airman William Mathews

Senior Airman Christopher Boring

Senior Airman Matthew Kraudy, Academic Achievement and Distinguished Graduate

Senior Airman Aslan Adams

Senior Airman Bradley Deweese

Senior Airman Jourdan Campbell

Senior Airman Caleb Ganster

 

552nd Operations Support Squadron

Senior Airman Leland Knight

 

72nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron 

Senior Airman Britney Williams, Sharp Image Award

 

72nd Operations Support Squadron

Staff Sgt. Brandon Gourley, Distinguished Graduate

Senior Airman Seth Mannos

 

72nd Security Forces Squadron

Senior Airman David Spellman

Senior Airman Michaeljohn Fenn

Senior Airman Sean Grell

Senior Airman Omar Araujo

Senior Airman Kristine Dutton, Freedom Citation Award

Senior Airman Walker Martin

960th Airborne Air Control Squadron

Senior Airman Evan Wolff

Senior Airman Trevor Vaughn, Distinguished Graduate

 

963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron

Senior Airman Blake Howard

 

964th Airborne Air Control Squadron 

Senior Airman Jonmichael Watson

Senior Airman Michael Nystuen

 

965th Airborne Air Control Squadron 

Senior Airman Nathaniel Townsell, John L. Levitow Award

 

966th Airborne Air Control Squadron 

Senior Airman Braden Olson

Senior Airman Bryce Bradeen

 

Stratcom Wing ONE

Petty Officer Third Class Joshua Holland

Freedom Citation Essay Winner

My parents decided it was not a place to raise a family, despite having to leave everything and everyone behind. They were able to take passage through Syria and eventually made it to the United States in North Carolina where they decided to settle permanently. What they found was a new home. While most of our family was dealing with leftover landmines and rebuilding their homes, mine had settled into a quiet little town and I was beginning school.

Eventually, most of our family relocated to the United States. Seeing my parent’s success had given them hope that they too could begin new lives, free of poverty and starvation. Although I was too young to remember living in Lebanon, I would always ask my Jida, or grandmother, what it was like. I loved to hear the stories of Beirut, a city that in its prime, rivaled those like Paris or New York. Much to my mother’s dismay, Jida would also tell stories of the war. She thought it was important to tell those stories so I could learn about our culture and heritage. Through her I learned our language and many of our customs. I never had the chance to ask her by the time I started to better understand things, but I also think she was trying to help me understand how lucky I was to not have to grow up in a war zone.

Freedom to me means opportunity. It means having the ability to follow your dreams in whatever manner you please. It’s the ability to wake up every morning and not wonder who will die today and how. Every morning that I wake up in the land of the free, I’m nothing but grateful. My parents and the rest of my family risked everything to come here. The people of the United States could’ve turned us away, they could’ve shunned us for being different. Instead they embraced all of us with open arms and open hearts.

Each day that I serve I’m constantly reminded why the decision my parents made in 1995 was the best decision they’ve ever made. Instead of waking up and getting to be with my military family, I could’ve been waking up in a tent or destroyed house wondering if my family had made it through the night. While I get to do things and go places I never thought I’d be able to, I could’ve been waiting for the next terrorist attack. Instead of celebrating my 25th birthday with all of my friends, I could’ve only made it to 14.

It was freedom that gave my family a second chance at life. It was freedom that showed me and my family that good people still exist in this world and that coexistence is possible without fear of violence. I will continue to defend freedom as long as I am able. I will continue to tell the story of how freedom handed my family the opportunity to rebuild. I owe the people of the United States and the freedom they offer a great debt of gratitude, for which I will repay by putting on this uniform and preserving freedom so that others who are in need of a second chance may benefit.