Life motto drives Airman

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kayla Newman
  • 633rd Air Base Wing
Through the crowd of people, the chaos of vendors and food trucks and the overbearing sound of aircraft zooming through the sky, one U.S. Air Force Airman could be seen engaging with the masses and broadcasting the Air Force story to all who will listen.

Senior Airman Kyara Johnson, 94th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons loader, enlisted in 2013 and is now a member of the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team, the first female to earn a spot on the crew.

"I've had people come up to me and tell me they just had to talk to me because they are happy that a female is on the team," said Johnson, who typically handles the music and video camera during air shows.

Johnson, whose wide smile illuminates her face, adds that while she is working she doesn't see gender; she is just a person, same as everyone else.

"She is definitely a breath of fresh air for the team," said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Billie, F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team maintenance team chief.  "Her work ethic is astounding, you never have to ask her to do anything because she is already three steps ahead of you and she does it with a smile on her face."

Before Johnson began as a member of the Demo Team, her days consisted of loading bombs and missiles onto the F-22 Raptor, the world's only operational fifth-generation fighter aircraft, as well as ensuring the weapons system remained up-to-date.
On the road however, Johnson's life is far from ordinary.

"We have early mornings and really long days," said Johnson. "You think it's going to be a long day, and it is, but it's so fun that you really don't notice it."

Since the performance aircraft isn't equipped with weapons and no weapon systems need to be checked, Johnson welcomes the opportunity to branch out of her career field, while remaining in the F-22 community. She also added that being a people person helps her with her new tasks as well.

During air shows, the Demo Team has a tent set-up to give the local community the opportunity to interact with Airmen, as well as learn about the Air Force and the aircraft.

"We get a lot of people that come by, asking questions about the [F-22]. How it works and how fast does it go," said Johnson. "You have to engage in conversation and make sure they are pumped up and ready for the demo."

While Johnson remains modest in how she interacts with the crowds, her team chief, Billie, sees much more than Johnson lets on.

"There isn't one specific story that I could tell and say 'Oh wow that was amazing,' because she does it every day," said Billie. "When we are out engaging with the public, watching her is awesome. It puts a smile on not only the people out there talking to her but it puts a smile on every [team member's] face, because she is just that good."

"You can never show the American public when you are having a bad day and Kyara never has a bad day," added Billie. "It's awesome to have her on the team and we love her to death."

The ability to bring a smile to someone's face isn't something that Johnson finds hard. By applying her life motto; Live, Love, Life, to her daily routine, she said she can is able to accomplish almost anything.

"You can't let any and everything get you down, you have to look at the positive," said Johnson. "Things could be going so wrong, but you have to think about it, there's somebody who is worse off than you. So you have to count your blessings and be thankful."