What it means to serve

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kathryn R.C. Reaves
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Across the Department of Defense, military members dedicate themselves to protecting the United States and the American way of life through voluntary service.

Just as individual Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and Sailors joined the military for different reasons and support their branches in diverse ways, each has a unique way of defining what it means to serve based on their experiences.

For some 20th Fighter Wing Airmen, this is what it means to serve:


“Service to me means putting my country and its mission before myself. It means being a part of something that very few people will ever get to know or see.” – Airman 1st Class Codey Martin, 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron tactical aircraft maintainer


“It means stepping into a job you know is going to be hard, it’s going to take a lot out of you, but knowing that it’s going to go to something bigger than you and it’s going to be to the service of the country and, long-term, to yourself.” – Airman 1st Class Jimmy Knutson, 20th EMS tactical aircraft maintainer

“It’s about putting the mission first and trying to do your best to get that mission done for everyone. … ‘All for freedom.’” – 1st Lt. Mitch Greene, 79th Fighter Squadron F-16CM Fighting Falcon pilot

“It means being selfless and putting others before yourself. I just want to play my part, be able to serve and give back.” – Airman Jacob Mlodozeniec, 20th Aerospace Medicine Squadron bioenvironmental engineer apprentice

“What it means to serve to me is just being a part of something other than myself, making a better life for my family, for my future. … I just want to make a difference and challenge myself to be better.” – Airman 1st Class Jeannie Toro, 20th Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician

“Service to me is putting others before yourself for the greater good and overall mission.” – Airman Arkarris Bragg, 20th Force Support Squadron food services apprentice

“For me, service is about helping others. It's always been something that’s been a part of me even before the military.” – Senior Airman Kadeem Joyner, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator

“To serve is to do what other people can’t necessarily do for themselves so you’ll be able to do it for them. In that, I mean defending and being able to be the hand to other people regardless of whether it’s overseas or here in the continental United States.” – Airman 1st Class Austin Lineberry, 20th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control apprentice

“For me, serving is a two part process. It starts with seeing something that isn’t there that you have the potential and the ability to put there. Then, not just seeing it, but responding to the need of what isn’t there and providing that. … Serving to me means finding a need and filling it.” – Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Moody, 20th FW chapel religious affairs Airman

“For me, service means following a family tradition, which is why I continue to serve as a civilian. My father was military, my uncle was military, my cousins served in the military, so service is something that the McGuires do. … Now as a civilian, it’s being able to give back and continue taking care of our service members and our retirees for the service they gave this country.” – Christine Herrera, 20th FW Staff Judge Advocate legal assistant