We asked United States Air Force Veteran, Kyra Mueller to share her experience serving in the Air Force from 1994 to 1998, and tell her story about how it has impacted her life. Here's what she had to say:
Why did you join the Air Force?
I joined in order to get an education, have a job, be able to travel and meet new people! I always dreamed that by joining the Air Force I might be able to be a Pilot. I ended up finding out that during boot camp, we’d have a test that would assign us a job that fit us best. I was assigned my first job as Law Enforcement on base, but later tried out for K9 Police un Law Enforcement school where there were tryouts.
What does fitness mean to you?
It’s being healthy and strong, as well as feeling good about yourself. It’s releasing endorphins and pushing yourself to become better each day. It’s being confident that I can be around for a long time for my family.
How has fitness played a role for you in your career?
Being healthy and fit was extremely important as a K9 cop. I had to be able to keep up with dogs that were close to my weight, and lift them into the aircraft carriers to travel overseas. If I wasn’t in shape, I wouldn’t be able to do my job keeping up with the physical demands it required. I was consistently moving with my dogs, patrolling, searching for contraband, securing permitters/installations. I was stationed at a nuclear base which had lengthy perimeters. Being healthy and in shape was extremely important because it was a very demanding and active job.
How has being in the military changed your life?
Being in the Air Force changed me in many ways. Instilled in me were the core values of the Military. These were Integrity, Pride, Loyalty, Courage, God, and Country. All of which stayed with me to this day. I didn’t have that when I joined, at first I didn’t care. I had no other aspirations or know what i wanted to do with my life up until joining. I wanted to escape my tough home life. But through the discipline, I was able to come out a better person which I will forever be grateful for.
Community means everything to us, tell us more about how your community motivated each other.
In any branch of the military, we were family. We really cared about each other and became family, even if we only knew a person for a few days. This was now our home away from home. We would encourage each other when we felt like falling out of runs, hikes, and other strenuous activities. Our daily stressful lives were made easier by the friends and family we made while serving our country. Sometimes, we would carry each other’s weight, use friendly competition and words of encouragement to keep each other going. Caring about people, I barely knew taught me the importance of compassion within a community of people that have the same goals. I put my life on the line for people I didn’t know, willingly. And by putting others first I became a happier person. Community is what kept us all motivated, loyal, strong, and caring individuals. Community is the reason I was able to keep my head up.
How does your experience in the military affect your life today?
My experience in the Air Force shaped me into a tougher and kinder individual and I am forever proud of serving my country. I left with injuries and PTSD and today I am a stay at home mom with my children! In addition I have been involved with fostering German Shepherds for the last 15 years! Fostering these dogs reminds me of my time on base and how I was able to learn and grow from these loyal and smart dogs.
What do you love about your profession?
I was able to learn and grow from strong and like-minded individuals, as well as, working with German Shepard’s which I’ve always been passionate about.
What advice do you have for others in your field pursuing a career as a K9 Police Officer?
Having a K9 is a huge responsibility and a privilege. Treating this job as the privilege it is requires more effort than you are expected to put in. You have to push yourself to go above and beyond to be selected to do it. However, this opportunity is more than rewarding.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the HYLETE community?
Trust your dog, they are usually right!
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