by Crystal Harpstreit
Alicia Sherblum, Foster, RI, is a young soldier in the US Air Force whose life turned around because of her decision to enlist. Alicia says, “Before the military I was what most people would call misled, but I believe I have done a 180 since joining.”
Growing up in a military family, Alicia decided she wanted to join when she was in her early teens. Her parents supported her decision. “When I first told my parents I wanted to join the military I was around 13 or 14 and they said they would support me with whatever I did.”
She adds that they also took the time to tell her that she might change her mind. However, after making that decision, Alicia didn’t look back.
Witnessing the attacks on the World Trade Center during her senior year of high school in 2001, solidified her desire to enlist. She remembers sitting in her class and hearing everyone gasp as they watched the horrible events unfold on the television screen.
At that time, her father was overseas and Alicia wondered if he was safe. Luckily he was and stayed longer than expected in order to help in the first stages of communication.
Alicia enlisted on June 27, 2002. Since Alicia comes from a military family she had some prior knowledge of how her time in the military might turn out. “I am very lucky that thanks to my father being in [the military], I had a pretty good understanding of what was going to happen.”
Alicia chose to take part in security forces as her job in the Air Force. She says, “I knew that it would push me to my limit and it still does today!”
Alicia works with interesting people from all over the US and abroad. “My last deployment I was overseas and got to work with an Arabic translator.” While watching the translator work, Alicia wondered how her words would be translated. “Not knowing if he really was translating what I was saying or putting stuff into his own words,” was interesting for the young soldier.
Alicia became friends with the translator and says, “He is a great guy and I still talk to him every now and then.”
Reflecting on her time in the military, Alicia says, “I really enjoy being part of a team and doing something for the greater good.” Alicia is part of the 143rd Security Forces Squadron.