Today I have the pleasure to speak with Ms. Veronica Kahn, United States Air Force Veteran. Ms. Kahn currently works as an EEO Manager for the Federal Government. I’ve known Ms. Kahn for the last 13 plus years, and I must say I was quite impressed with her military career. In this interview, I learned things about Ms. Kahn, that I never would have dreamt she had accomplished.
Hobert- What motivated you to join the military?
My father was a WWII Veteran and very proud of his military service. He was extremely patriotic and always talked about the military and showed me photographs. I also grew up in San Antonio, a very military city, so there was constant influence and presence. I suppose it always called out to me and I answered.
Hobert- Tell me a little about your time in bootcamp.
I amazed myself, as I had to be the most petite person in the flight. Somehow, I did very well and passed everything. However, some things were quite challenging for small people. During “Confidence Course”, I had to take a long running start and literally fling myself over some of the obstacles. Of course, it rained on that day! By the end of our training, we were well versed in teamwork!
Hobert- What was (is) your primary job after training (MOS)?
My primary job was Administrative Specialist 702.
Hobert – Where did you serve most of the time in service?
The majority of my service time was served at Hellenikon AB, Athens, Greece. I didn’t want to leave.
Hobert – What rank are you most proud to have earned, and why?
I believe earning the rank of A1C, as I competed with other Airmen, before a military panel, for promotion “Below the Zone” and was selected ahead of my promotion window. It was very stressful, at the time, as everything had to be perfect.
Hobert- Which medals or citations are you most honored to have received, and why?
The Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, as most in my Wing did not have one. I was also one of the few women to earn the ribbon.
Hobert- Tell me about some of the special people you met.
There were so many – from my first NCOIC and OIC to some of the local nationals from work and in the neighborhoods where I lived.
One particular fighter pilot stands out. He was a real “Ace” who flew missions in Korea and Viet Nam. He was asked to join the Thunderbirds but turned it down to serve in Viet Nam. When I met him, he was a civilian working for a contractor on our Quadri-National Air Base. His job was to tow the dart (target), while training American, British, Italian and German Air Force fighter pilots, in enemy flying tactics.
I still have many friends from the military and in different countries. We keep in contact and visit from time to time. I hope to see my Greek friend in the near future.
Hobert- What was the best and worst ‘military’ food you were served, and why?
The worst “military food” had to be the MREs. I ate the crackers and dessert (It might have been a cookie?). I’m still not sure what the mystery meat was. We had great Chow Halls, so I never had any complaints about the food. The best meal had to be at the Navy Base on La Maddalena Island, Italy. I was stationed in a remote location in Sardinia, Italy. A group of us crossed the island and took the ferry across to La Maddalena. We enjoyed the best steak and lobster meal, ever.
Hobert- Tell me a funny story you experienced that could only happen in the military.
I walked into my first assignment, a brand new Airman. My NCOIC greeted me and gave me an orientation. One of the first things he said to me was: “I don’t believe women should be in the military.” Of course, my first thought was this is going to be terrible! I later learned, he was married to another military member and they had two small children. Clearly, the statement was inappropriate and not true! To this day, I don’t know why he said that – other than to terrify me. Wish I had asked him later. He turned out to be on my list of supervisors that I remember as being a great mentor and very fair to everyone. I kept in touch with him and his family for many years.
Hobert- How did (does) your military experience affect your life today?
I believe my military service is the most important thing I have ever done. My military experience has opened countless doors of opportunity and enriched my life. It also led me to my position at the VA, where we serve Veterans.