U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kevin Nious/California Air National Guard.
I am a producer with NBC News covering the West Coast.
As a journalist, we often cover disasters and tragedies impacting our community without directly getting involved. While impartial journalism plays a critical role in a free society, I also wanted to be part of an organization that provides aid and relief to people in their time of need. This inspired me to join the California Air National Guard in 2019.
My experience at Lackland Air Force Base during basic military training felt like jumping into a time vortex. No cell phones, no electronics, the living quarters looked like something out of the 60s and everyone in my flight was half my age. Our only connection to the outside world was through letter writing and we couldn’t leave our dormitory due to the recently declared global pandemic. The isolation combined with the meticulous demands of training took a toll on me mentally, which made graduation day one of the proudest achievements of my life. It was just unfortunate that my family and friends were not allowed to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions.
I primarily serve as a Public Affairs Specialist documenting rescue missions, facilitating internal communication and archiving my wing’s history.
I serve with the 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Air National Guard Base, California.
Graduating from the Defense Information School as a distinguished honor graduate was a huge accomplishment for me because it marked the end of my yearlong training journey and allowed me to finally join my unit.
Everyone leaves basic training with a peanut butter addiction because for two months, it’s the only thing sweet you’re allowed to consume, and it’s scarce. People have been known to do some crazy things all for a taste of peanut butter.
Splitting my time between NBC News and the National Guard makes me appreciate the work I do for both organizations even more.
My military experience has taught me a tremendous amount about leadership. The Air Force expects all airmen to be leaders and helps develop those skills. I have been able to parlay these lessons to my civilian career as a producer.
My short time in the military has introduced me to people all over the world that I have been able to develop lasting friendships with.
I learned a lot about my physical and mental limits as well as new techniques to push through those limits and reach new heights.
I wish more people understood the nearly impossible juggling act some of my fellow members of the National Guard have to balance. One day, you could be working an 8-hour office job, preparing to pick up your kid from school when you get a call to fly out to Texas or Florida to provide disaster relief for the next month. These service-members drop everything on a moment’s notice, switch on their military training to complete the mission and seamlessly integrate back into their civilian life.
The USO provides tremendous assistance to service-members away from home. The staff couldn’t be any nicer and sometimes a gesture as small as a free snack makes service-members feel appreciated.
“These Things We Do, That Others May Live.” This is the motto for U.S. Air Force paratroopers. These men go through some of the most rigorous training to be able to dive into some of the most dangerous situation imaginable. Their motto serves as a constant reminder to me the importance of my wing’s mission.