Rachelle Nielsen: The reason why I have this feeling of wanting to give back is because of my family and just the core values that they have. Being in the military means that I am providing my support: my support for this country and my support for everybody else around me. I was born in Catarman, Philippines. My mom is a Filipino citizen and my dad was in the US Air Force. Growing up in the Philippines is very much of a family culture.
Editha Nielsen: Her helping people started at home. She saw in us what we were doing. It just kind of instilled in her slowly.
Jermaine Loresco: In the Philippines, you know, we’re all very hospitable, and friendly, and really open to just help out others, and that’s how Rachelle is.
Rachelle: I started volunteering around 17 years old, when I was still in high school. My mom had volunteered with me and I volunteered with Make A Wish Foundation, the Humane Society, and I also volunteered to get groceries for the elderly.
Kyle Lang: She is very generous. She’s a character, and she loves to laugh. She takes a lot of time volunteering for the Harvest Food Bank.
Erin Tyler: Rachelle is with a group from Shaw Air Force Base that comes to help us pack boxes for our food program. She’s a very hard worker and very easy to work with, and we love having her here.
Rachelle: When I started volunteering, it just made me realize how I was able to give back, and so that’s when I started considering the military.
Editha: I cried the very first day she told me about it because when she went in, I was afraid that she was not tough enough.
Rachelle: I was, you know, the pink high heels, dance team kind of girl, but I just had to mentally prove to myself that I can get the job done.
Editha: Now I realize, oh, gosh, I got some special kind of daughter here. She can do it.
Rachelle: My dad was so proud of me. He hugged me so tight and was so ecstatic for me, and he still is.
This 12/P mask has kind of incorporating inhalation and exhalation valves. Pressure demand means that when you breathe in, it’s giving you oxygen, when you breathe out, it’s going to cut off.
My career field is aerospace and operational physiology. We work with aircrew, parachutists, and pilots.
Cameron Chisholm: We teach students about hypoxia, the loss of oxygen to the brain. When they’re flying in these aircrafts, they need to know exactly how this is going to affect them, what they’re going to feel, and if they feel their symptoms, they’re going to need to know how to correct them in case there’s an emergency. It keeps them safe.
Rachelle: So the system right here gives you that simulation and it tries to make it as realistic as possible.
Paul Depker: This type of instruction is important, because if you don’t know the signs and you’re not looking for them, and you don’t monitor yourself as well as others, I mean, it can be a real issue.
Rachelle: My role in operating this altitude chamber is lecturing and being inside observer, making sure the individuals inside the chamber get the appropriate training, and make sure they do it safely.
Barbara Holmes: When I was in the chamber, Sergeant Nelson was actually the reason why I knew my hypoxia was setting in. She’s very excited about her job, and she brought us all in and made us understand it.
Rachelle: Knowing that the pilots, the aircrew, the parachutists that are in that altitude chamber, that you’re making sure they’re trained, it just makes you realize you’re doing something to give back.
Cameron: Sergeant Nielsen really does enjoy working with other service members. She’s great about giving advice about the career field and how she wants to look to the future. It’s a good kind of reflection to me and it gives me an example of how I want to lead my personal life.
Rachelle: Filipino tradition, you always have to make your family proud, so it makes me proud of myself that I’m actually doing something for everybody else as well. This uniform makes me realize every day that I’m doing something for not just myself, not just the person right next to me, but all over the world.