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Career change helps Airman find niche

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Grace Nichols
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The idea of going from knowing nothing about basic vehicle maintenance to working on a large aircraft might be daunting.

For one Airman in particular, this concept was extremely appealing because it tapped into her natural curiosity of how things worked.

“I wanted to build things and it seemed really cool that I could build things that flew in the air,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Sarah Hubert. “It was amazing to me that someone who knew nothing about maintenance could turn into someone fully qualified to work on aircraft.”

Although the young Airman soared in her profession as an aircraft structural maintainer, she started to wonder if there was something beyond the horizon.

“The Air Force has opportunities for you to see other jobs; by doing so I realized there were other opportunities beyond the flightline.” Hubert said.

This revelation aligned with a significant period in every Airman’s career: the opportunity to cross train into another Air Force specialty code.

“I reached my cross training mark, looked at the job list and figured ‘why not give it a try?’” Hubert said. “So I ended up with a new job.”

But it wasn’t as simple as selecting a job off the list. After all, it would determine her path for the next several years and possibly the rest of her Air Force career.

While making her choice, Hubert went on a trip hosted by a chaplain and chaplain assistant.

She realized how much the chaplain and chaplain assistants mindsets resonated with her. When it came down to selecting a new career, it made sense to her to be involved in something that meant so much to her.

“It was cool realizing that someone believed the Air Force’s best asset is the people.” Hubert said.

Hubert didn’t want Airmen to feel unimportant and wanted to be able to help them have a support system if needed.

 “I’ve been on the other side where you don’t believe you have support from anyone else,” Hubert said.

She wanted more people to know about the helping agencies they would otherwise only learn about in First Term Airman’s Class or Airman Leadership School, and perhaps then forget.

With her new motivation and goal, the chaplain assistant select shipped off to technical training to hone her craft.

Now a chaplain assistant at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Hubert handles a variety of operations, from administration, to walk-ins for chaplain’s visits to engaging with the units on base. She manages all this while serving as a neutral representative for service members.

“Chaplain assistants are the non-religious part of the Chaplain Corps,” Hubert said. “We can work with anyone from any faith.”

Whereas chaplains must uphold both their military contract and their religious one, chaplain assistants are only bound to the Air Force and helping Airmen. By doing this, it allows the chaplains to be free to fulfil their religious duties while knowing the Airmen are getting the emotional support and help they need.

“Our niche is in being able to support chaplains in their ability to exercise religion,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Cravo, chapel operations superintendent. “We also build preventive care to help prepare Airmen and families for the challenges they’re going to face in military life.”

Hubert continues to care for Airmen to help them further their emotional, personal and professional growth.

“No one ever truly knows what someone’s going through,” she said. “When you can see that you’re actually making someone happy, you might be making a big difference in their life.”