It was about junior year of high school when I starting trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. The obvious choice was to go to college. I wanted to look further though. I wanted to know what I would do for my career after college so I would know where to go for school and what to study there rather than just blindly getting a degree. My dad had served in the army long before I was born but I liked hearing his stories. I think the military had always been in the back of my mind not only because of how my parents had raised me but because of my proximity growing up to Offutt, AFB. I had seen countless air shows growing up and was always fascinated with flying. A combination of factors made it very easy to make my decision.
1. I wanted to go to college.
2. I also wanted to be in the military at some point (I would have joined eventually no matter where I went to school)
3. I wanted to fly!
4. I thought the idea of free education/scholarships sounded pretty good. I had worked hard enough in high school that many opportunities were within reach and scholarships would help set me up for the future.
These four factors pointed directly at the United States Air Force Academy. It was the best way I could find to achieve them all. Four years later I was commissioned as an officer in the world's greatest Air Force, debt free, with a materials chemistry degree, on my way to pilot training. I've since completed pilot training and haven't regretted anything since deciding to join the military. There are so many other jobs besides being a pilot. Being in the Air Force has opened my eyes to just how much all branches of our military do behind the scenes to serve and protect the people of the United States from threats that the average citizen isn't even aware exist. I get satisfaction every day that I can be a small cog in the internal workings of such a powerful and selfless profession. I would encourage anyone who feels the calling for armed service to look into not only the Air Force but what all the services have to offer as well. No matter how you serve, from working contracting, logistics, and finance, to being a foot soldier on the front lines or analyzing endless streams of intelligence information, each and every career choice can be rewarding in it's own way. I have friends from the Academy in every career field out there and nearly all of them are very satisfied that they joined the military and wouldn't trade their time in the service for anything. I have no idea where my time in the Air Force will take me, but I'm sure wherever it is I will enjoy it.
- 1st Lt. Sean Cork, USAF, Air Force Academy Graduate 2014, St. Mary’s Graduate 2006. (reflections for Veteran’s Day)