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America's Airman: A1C Kimberley McKenzie

By Airman 1st Class Spencer Slocum 316th Wing Public Affairs

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What's your full name, job title and unit?

Kimberley McKenzie, vehicle maintenance technician, 316th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

 

What's your hometown city and state (and country, if not U.S.)?                                                                                                                                             

Occidental, CA.

 

What has being in the military allowed you to do that you wouldn’t have otherwise done?

The military has allowed me to serve my country and the opportunity to go to college without having to go into debt. I am able to work towards my Community College of the Air Force degree and bachelors in fire science management without the added stress of finances. 

 

What's the coolest thing you’ve done in the military?

The coolest thing I have done so far was being a part of the deployment and redeployment of over 6,000 joint service personnel in two weeks. It allowed me to work outside of my career field and learn more about how the Air Force interacts with its sister services.

  

What hobbies do you have/what do you do in your spare time?

I collect Elvis Presley memorabilia. In my spare time I usually love doing anything outdoors such as hiking and kayaking. I also workout and volunteer as much as possible.  

 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your life?

The biggest challenge I have had to face in my life is people underestimating me based on my looks and gender. Since joining the military and being a female in a male dominated career field I have found that I have a lot more to prove and I am usually judged fairly quickly. I let my strong work ethic speak for itself and that changes people's perceptions quite easily. 

 

What are two interesting facts about yourself?

I have been collecting Elvis Presley memorabilia since I was 4 years old. I was the only female in my tech school class and received top graduate and the only person in my flight in basic training to receive honor grad. 

 

How has the outbreak effected your job?

We have been on a reduced manning schedule and have integrated teleworking into our operations. There have also been a lot less vehicles coming in for maintenance which has given us more time to focus on upgrade training.

 

What are you doing to stay active during all of this?

I go hiking in unpopulated areas, take my dog on long walks and stay on a consistent workout schedule. I also have started going to school to make sure I keep my mind active as well. 

 

How have you stayed resilient during the COVID epidemic?

I have made sure to keep the same schedule I normally would if I was going into work. I also keep in contact with coworkers and family to ensure that I don’t become too isolated.

 

Why is it important for Airmen to stay connected even during times of social distancing?

Social interaction is more important to your mental and emotional state than most realize so when we are required to stay home or quarantine, it is crucial to keep in contact with people to ensure we have a support system. When coming into work every day it is easy to make sure everyone is ok and it's usually clear when someone isn’t feeling their best. However, during social distancing and alternate work schedules it is imperative to check in on everyone to maintain that comradery and ensure everyone still feels important and taken care of. 

If you are teleworking, what are some things teleworking has helped with in your mission?

Teleworking has ensured that we all stay connected while we are on opposite shifts, keeping our mission as fluid as possible.