JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
From a young age, Staff Sgt. Kymon Carriker had a love for singing. In the car or at home, it didn’t matter -- he sang all day, every day.
“My mother always tells me that I didn’t cry as a baby; I came out singing,” said Carriker, 11th Wing Command Chief executive assistant. His fondest childhood memory was singing ‘Oh Happy Day’ at church in fifth grade.
“I sung my heart out, hitting the high note, and the congregation went wild,” he said. “At that point, I knew I was a singer.”
In school, he participated in choirs, acted and sang in plays. Carriker’s first production was ‘Annie’ during his freshman year of high school, in which he played a smaller role.
Once Carriker showed he could sing, he began landing leading roles.
As a freshman at Georgia College & State University, he struggled to balance school, performing, and working full time as a cashier.
The desire to stay loan free while continuing his pursuit of a degree in music education led him to the Air Force.
“It was extremely stressful keeping my grades up and trying to balance a social life, while working full time to afford school,” Carriker said. “I decided that I would follow my brother’s footsteps and join the military to finance the rest of my education.”
Since joining the military his interest in singing hasn’t wavered. He has proven his never-ending motivation by participating in eight plays and musicals throughout his eight years in the Air Force, while continuing his education.
Carriker has also fine-tuned the art of balance. Just like he balances the Command Chief’s calendar, deconflicting meetings and scheduling events, he has learned to balance his work responsibilities with his passion, said Staff Sgt. Tarisha Bridgers, who worked with him.
“He has shown time and again that he has mastered balance within his job and his personal life,” said Bridgers, 811th Force Support Squadron administration support NCO in charge.
Sometimes Carriker works all day, just to leave and rehearse for several hours, then drives home to wake up and start the process all over again. But for him, the raving reviews after a big performance make it all worth it.
“I have watched him grow from singing the national anthem at the occasional military event, to performing on stage to sold-out crowds,” said Chief Master Sgt. Nathaniel Perry, 11th Wing command chief. “His voice is fantastic and he has a passion for whatever he does--including performing.”
Several co-workers and mentors took the time to see Carriker perform in his latest show ‘Memphis’, where he played a shy character named Gator, who doesn’t speak due to trauma he witnessed at a young age. His silence is finally broken and everyone realizes the vocal talents he’s been hiding all along.
“When I watched him perform in the play, it was apparent that this young man has what it takes to excel in that business just as he has in the Air Force,” Perry said.
Finally finding the right balance, Carriker plans to stay in the Air Force until he retires and takes on performing full time.
“The Air Force has given me a sense of pride in what I can do for my country, but performing fulfills me, and that’s something I feel in my soul,” Carriker said.