Futures Magazine: Find Your Passion. Find Your Path.
Futures Magazine: Find Your Passion. Find Your Path.
Picture this: Serving as a liaison between the Military and local governments overseas. Cleaning up oil spills as a marine scientist. Performing music for an audience of hundreds. Volunteering to help those in need. Each year, the thousands of men and women who choose to serve in the United States Military take on awesome responsibilities like these and more. The service members profiled in our annual Futures magazine represent a cross-section of today’s Military. Order or download free copies of the magazine and watch the accompanying videos below. See, in their own words, what these men and women have to say about their choice to serve, enjoying Military benefits like a paid education, their passion for their careers and more.
Futures is an annual publication of the Department of Defense.
A Recruit's Journey
A Recruit's Journey
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Futures magazine is an annual publication of the Department of Defense that features articles on men and women from all branches of the Military. Here, you can listen to their stories in their own words.
Narrator: Picture this. Jumping out of a helicopter during an ocean rescue mission. Leading a platoon at just 23 years old. Practicing tactical missions in total darkness. Each year, the thousands of men and women who choose to serve in the United States military take on awesome responsibilities like these and more. The service members profiled in Futures Magazine represent a cross-section of today’s military, and its opportunities for both working and enjoying the military lifestyle. They hail from across the US and from all walks of life. These are their stories in their own words.
As an Air Rescue Swimmer assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Three (HSC-3), Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelvin Kolb jumps out of helicopters as part of his military career.
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelvin Kolb: My name is AWS2 Kelvin Kolb, I am an Air Rescue swimmer in the United States Navy.
My favorite thing is just being outside, and fishing in a calm, relaxing environment like you see here, and it’s just sublime.
I’ve been stationed at Coronado, California, and work at the military installation, NAS, North Island.
My job at HSC-3 as a helicopter rescue swimmer and instructor is training future rescue swimmers and air crewmen to fly in the helicopter safely, get them all their qualifications needed to operate in the fleet as rescue swimmers and helicopter air crewmen.
Even though you’ve been doing it for nine years like I have, there still is excitement of jumping out of a helicopter into the water, always, no matter what. Students really get a kick out of it. This is their highlight of their time here at the Fleet Replacement Squadron. This is their favorite thing to do.
It’s just really humbling to know that you’re part of the Naval Helicopter Squadron that is in charge of training future helicopter air crewmen and rescue swimmers to go out there and do great things.
My time off duty is – I like to say it’s well spent. On the weekends, you know, I go fishing, I go skydiving. I guess you could say it’s the ultimate rush. You know, you’re jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet, just by yourself, the ground’s rushing up at you, you’re just kind of free to do whatever you want up in the air. It is the ultimate experience as far as adrenaline and serenity combined.
My wife jokes around and says I have a hobby, and it’s having hobbies, because I just – I like to do everything. Life’s about an adventure. You just get out there and do as much as you can.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Maya Dover found a rewarding career in the Navy, looking out for service members' dental health.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Maya Dover: My name is Maya Lynn Dover. I am an active-duty E-5 dental tech. I currently work as the Dental Shore and Fleet Liaison Work Center Supervisor Lead Petty Officer. I am in charge of overseeing an operation for all ships and submarines, dental readiness, in addition to all shore commands.
The reason dental readiness is so important in the Navy is because people don’t really realize how much your mouth ties into the rest of your body. It is one of the most dynamic parts of the body, but people really don’t realize because it’s so small. Some people may need cleanings. Some people may need fillings. Some people may need wisdom teeth extractions. But we’re able to project that out before that boat deploys to ensure that everybody is fit to deploy.
We have larger shore-based commands who have more than 300-plus patients. And what we typically like to do is, for those commands, we send the Mobile Dental Unit to their front door. We make sure that our van is parked in front of their building, and we have the ability to project them out, have them scheduled, have their record on hand, do their dental exam. And then they’re able to follow up with the clinic with whatever follow-on care they would need. And we do the same thing for the submarines and the ships. The Navy’s slogan is “World-class health care, anytime, anywhere,” and that is what the Mobile Dental Unit is.
Deployment, for me, was a very enjoyable experience. There was a lot of hard work, a lot of long hours, but you really see how much you impact the Navy. To make sure that everybody is fit to fight is a very difficult job. We’ve done over 3,000 missions off of that one carrier. To say that, you know, we’ve potentially saved our shipmate’s lives while they were out there, it’s definitely humbling, just to know that dental is an intricate part of what the Navy is all about.
Staff Sgt. Saul Mendoza may be young, but he has a lot of responsibility as an aircraft maintainer for the Air National Guard.
Staff Sgt. Saul Mendoza: My name is Staff Sgt. Mendoza. I’m a propulsion technician here at the 146th Airlift Wing.
Here we are on the flight line. I’m going to show you a little bit of what I do on a day-to-day basis. These are called C-130J’s. We’ve got eight of them. And as an aircraft propulsion technician, I work on any one that has engine problems.
This is called a compressor wash. We have to do it right before major inspection. The aircraft’s going to be inside the hangar for a while. The compressor wash is pretty much corrosion control. So, it’s pretty basic. It takes five of us, all of the engine shop troops.
The inspection is, it’s a huge part of our job as an engine shop mechanic. And every so often, we take the planes inside the hangar, and we completely, like, gut the whole airplane. The first time you do it, I mean, you learn a lot. It’s like, you’re taking apart something you’ve never seen before in your entire life, and we catch stuff that you just don’t see out here. It’s like a fine-tooth comb inspection.
When they’re here, everything’s training, you know, like, all of these hours we spend here on this flight line, fixing these airplanes. But in Afghanistan, it’s different. People need their equipment. You know, the Hummers we fly around, the paratroopers. This is what I’ve been training for. If I don’t do my job, and I don’t fix my plane, they don’t get their trucks. And you can see where, like, one problem would lead to another.
So, when I fix that plane, and I watch that plane take off, that gives me that sense of accomplishment, like, “This is why I’m here. This is why I do the things that I do.” All of those hours I spend here, you know, it all pays off when I’m in Afghanistan, and someone comes up to me and thanks me. You know, “We got our live ammo drop in the heat of combat that you guys dropped.” That gives me the feeling, like, just a great feeling of accomplishment.
Through Army ROTC, Cadet Ryan Cho is taking advantage of everything the Military has to offer college students.
Cadet Ryan Cho: My name is Ryan Cho. I am in the Army National Guard, and my rank is cadet. I currently attend Columbia University in the city of New York. My major is political science, with a focus in American politics.
I actually always wanted to serve in the Military, but for my family, definitely, and for myself, education was a priority. I actually didn’t know about the National Guard until I entered college. I didn’t know about that reserve option. And that allowed me to both attend college, and serve in a branch of Service in the Military, and serve the country.
The Army National Guard understands that a lot of the new people that enter are going to be younger and are actually attending school because that’s one of the benefits of being in the Army National Guard. So, I actually enlisted under what’s called the Split Option Program. The Split Option Program allows you to attend Basic Training during the summer, and then attend AIT, which is Advanced Individual Training, the next summer as well. And so, you’re able to split that training up so that you’re not missing school time, but you’re also able to start your service.
So, in ROTC, we have, kind of, three different types of trainings. One is physical training, of course. Then part of our training is devoted to military science classes. That’s where we’re learning tactics and how to apply different principles of military strategy. And then in lab, we’re taking what we’re learning and applying that in a practical setting. So, we’ll actually be leading Soldiers, doing simulations and drills, in order to make sure that we understand those principles that we’re learning in class.
Time management is really important, and that’s one of the things that they stress in the training for becoming an Army officer. And at the end of the day, if you, you know, do that time management, not only am I able to participate in all of these different activities, but I’m also, you know, able to have a social life, go out with my friends.
Hurricane Irene was actually my first activation. So that, I mean, was basically why I joined the Army National Guard, not only because I wanted to serve my country, but also the state. And so being able to be activated and participate in a mission that was, you know, helping my neighbors, and my fellow classmates in New York City, was just an amazing and grateful experience.
I think the Military is a great option for people looking to serve, not only because you’re able to contribute back to, you know, your country and state, but you’re also able to develop yourself personally and get education, military training and a lot of personal development out of it as well.
Army Spc. Tiffany Dusterhoft was able to turn her talents in photography into a military career.
Spc. Tiffany Dusterhoft: My name is Tiffany Dusterhoft. I’m a specialist in the US Army.
My parents were very supportive. They knew that I needed something, you know, in my life, more than just going straight to school. I needed that worldly experience, travel. I wanted that more than I wanted to go straight into school.
Garrison life as a photographer tends to be a lot of ceremonies. Recently, I had a Hawaii Medal of Honor Award ceremony, and I got to go cover that, and that was really great.
I’d say the best year of my military career was deployment. I got to go out with so many different units, on so many different missions, covering all different sorts of events, and just such a wide range of opportunities you get with this job. I would explain it as the best job in the Military, honestly. There’s so much travel, you meet so many people, you know, people in the states, people in different countries. I’ve been to so many different places, met so many really awesome people.
As far as duty stations go, Hawaii has been the best duty station. (laughs) It’s beautiful! If you’re an outdoors person, then this is a great place to be. There’s hiking, there’s waterfalls, there’s surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving. There’s tons of things that you can do out here. It’s amazing, and I do it. Every weekend, I hike to my favorite waterfall that’s by my house, and you know, I’m real close to the Marine Corps base, so I use their facilities there. You know, their beach is beautiful.
I try to express the Military through a camera, and I think it says a whole lot more than words can say