September Airman Spotlight

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  • 175th Wing Public Affairs
Name: Christipher R. Kelley
Rank: Master Sgt.
Unit: 175th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Job Description: A-10C Crew Chief, currently on a one year ADOS tour as State Drug Demand Reduction Program Manager/Inspector General augmentee.
Fulltime job: see above
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Joined the MDANG: July 1, 2005
Total Service years: 9
Family: Son-Cayden Michael Kelley, Fiancée-Morgan Lyons, Mom-Shawneen Kelley, Brother-Daniel Kelley
Favorite Movie: The Sandlot
Last book read: The Sculptor by Gregory Funaro
Favorite food: Pizza and Donuts
Favorite Sports Team: Johns Hopkins University men's lacrosse

Tell us your brief life story?
I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I attended Victory Villa Elementary School, Middle River Middle School, Kenwood High School, and Community College of Baltimore County Essex. I am currently enrolled in University of Maryland University College with a major in Cyber Security and a minor in Business. Before the military I worked at True Value Hardware in Carol Island, construction for Regional Management Inc., TGI Fridays (bus boy, host, server), and Ikea self-serve warehouse. In school, I played: soccer, football, indoor track, and lacrosse. I was vice president of the band and played saxophone. Currently I play men's lacrosse and coed soccer.


Tell us about your military career?
After graduation from Kenwood in 2004, I went directly to CCBC Essex. I had no intention of joining the military at the time. I was working to pay my own way through college and did not have a fun and exciting job like I wanted. At the same time, two of my good buddies recently arrived home from their technical training after joining the National Guard here in Maryland directly following high school graduation. They joined me at CCBC, but for them, school was paid for. In addition to that, they were always bragging about how much fun their job was and how they had the opportunity to travel. They were both A-10C crew chiefs. They had exactly what I was looking for in a job and the Maryland Air National Guard was paying their way through school as well. This sounded like a win-win to me. It was pretty obvious what I had to do. So, on July 1, 2005, I enlisted in the Maryland Air National Guard as an A-10 Crew chief. I requested that I be sent to basic training as early as possible. I was told that I had to wait at least 60 days for processing to go through and I was shipped out on the 63rd day.
It is so hard to pick only one memorable experience because I have been blessed to have so many in my short time here with the Maryland ANG. One of my most memorable experiences would be deploying to Al Asad Air Base back in 2007. This was my first deployment with the unit. I was still so new and "green behind the ears" or a "tender little chicken nugget" as some of the senior crew chiefs called us new guys at the time. It was a great opportunity to prep for the deployment, be a part of the ESTA crew to go in transit with the A-10s on their way to Iraq. More than all of this was just having that feeling, and knowing, at that moment that what I was doing was more than just important...it was extremely important. My role in the Maryland ANG, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. military as a whole was validated for me during this deployment. During the short two months there, I grew from the green behind the ears tender little chicken nugget, to a viable, mature Airman who proved instrumental to the unit. 

Name: Christipher R. Kelley
Rank: TSgt
Unit: 175th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Job Description: A-10C Crew Chief, currently on a one year ADOS tour as State Drug Demand Reduction Program Manager/Inspector General augmentee.
Fulltime job: see above
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Joined the MDANG: July 1, 2005
Total Service years: 9
Family: Son-Cayden Michael Kelley, Fiancée-Morgan Lyons, Mom-Shawneen Kelley, Brother-Daniel Kelley
Favorite Movie: The Sandlot
Last book read: The Sculptor by Gregory Funaro
Favorite food: Pizza and Donuts
Favorite Sports Team: Johns Hopkins University men's lacrosse

Tell us your brief life story?
I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. I attended Victory Villa Elementary School, Middle River Middle School, Kenwood High School, and Community College of Baltimore County Essex. I am currently enrolled in University of Maryland University College with a major in Cyber Security and a minor in Business. Before the military I worked at True Value Hardware in Carol Island, construction for Regional Management Inc., TGI Fridays (bus boy, host, server), and Ikea self-serve warehouse. In school, I played: soccer, football, indoor track, and lacrosse. I was vice president of the band and played saxophone. Currently I play men's lacrosse and coed soccer.


Tell us about your military career?
After graduation from Kenwood in 2004, I went directly to CCBC Essex. I had no intention of joining the military at the time. I was working to pay my own way through college and did not have a fun and exciting job like I wanted. At the same time, two of my good buddies recently arrived home from their technical training after joining the National Guard here in Maryland directly following high school graduation. They joined me at CCBC, but for them, school was paid for. In addition to that, they were always bragging about how much fun their job was and how they had the opportunity to travel. They were both A-10C crew chiefs. They had exactly what I was looking for in a job and the Maryland Air National Guard was paying their way through school as well. This sounded like a win-win to me. It was pretty obvious what I had to do. So, on July 1, 2005, I enlisted in the Maryland Air National Guard as an A-10 Crew chief. I requested that I be sent to basic training as early as possible. I was told that I had to wait at least 60 days for processing to go through and I was shipped out on the 63rd day.
It is so hard to pick only one memorable experience because I have been blessed to have so many in my short time here with the Maryland ANG. One of my most memorable experiences would be deploying to Al Asad Air Base back in 2007. This was my first deployment with the unit. I was still so new and "green behind the ears" or a "tender little chicken nugget" as some of the senior crew chiefs called us new guys at the time. It was a great opportunity to prep for the deployment, be a part of the ESTA crew to go in transit with the A-10s on their way to Iraq. More than all of this was just having that feeling, and knowing, at that moment that what I was doing was more than just important...it was extremely important. My role in the Maryland ANG, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. military as a whole was validated for me during this deployment. During the short two months there, I grew from the green behind the ears tender little chicken nugget, to a viable, mature Airman who proved instrumental to the unit. 

How have you enjoyed your time here?
I have enjoyed my time very much. I love what I do and I love even more the reason I do it...to protect and defend our great nation. The Maryland ANG, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. military in whole is more than just a job...it's a family. This is why I continue to stay in the Guard and re-enlist. I love what I do and I am not ready to walk away from this family!


What is your favorite Air Force or military memory or story?
My favorite military story isn't really military related but the opportunity was afforded to me thanks to the military. It was back in 2013 and I was in transit to Estonia as part of Sabre Strike. Again, I was ESTA and was at an air base in transit to Estonia. The first night there a few crew chiefs and I decided to go out for a nice dinner. We went to lodging and had them call us a taxi.  At this point we had no clue where we were going yet. When the taxi arrived we asked our driver if he knew of a nice place we could grab dinner. He told us he had the perfect place and actually called and made a reservation for us. When we walked in the restaurant we were the only ones there. It was a beautiful place: small, quaint, extremely classy yet modern. When we were seated, there was slight communication barrier as the only waiter, who was dressed in a tuxedo, did not speak any English at all. The table was loaded with an abundance of silverware that most of us never even used: big forks, small forks, and smaller forks, the same with the spoons. When the waiter came around to serve us water, he poured it over his towel draped forearm as if he was pouring an expensive wine. We all thought that the taxi driver got one over on us and took us to the most expensive place in town.
Due to the communication barrier, the chef himself had to come out and explain the menu to us. He was very young, but so polite. When I asked him what the "Boca de Negra" was he said, "I will show you" and turned to the kitchen. He returned with what looked like a fresh caught red snapper on a silver platter. I was blown away by this and chose that as my meal.
The service throughout dinner was immaculate and the food was immaculate, all reaffirming our belief that the taxi driver got us. We all thought that this was going to be one of the most expensive meals that we have ever had. At this point we didn't care, thought due to the service, it was worth it and proceeded to all get dessert.
When the bill came out we were all proved wrong; completely wrong.  What we thought was going to be at least a $100 bill for each of us was in the range of $18-22. We thought there had to be a mistake. Because of this we requested that the chef come back out so we could talk to him and fix this mistake.
When we addressed the issue he began to tell us that this was no mistake at all. He then went on to inform us about the current economic situation and how he was trying to move to America to pursue his dreams of opening his own restaurant.
We talked more about the culture of the area and more about his plans and his past.
I was extremely taken by this experience. Still to this day, that was the best dining experience I have ever had and for the price of a mediocre meal at chain restaurant. On top of all of this, we learned there, they do not except tips. Of course we snuck our money on the table anyways!  


What are you passionate about?
If I could go back in time a few years, there would probably be a good chance that I could have had my dream job...as cliché as it sounds, to be a fighter pilot in our U.S. Air Force. I didn't grow up wanting to be a fighter pilot, or a pilot at all to tell you the truth. It wasn't until my second deployment in 2010 to Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan that the thought really crossed my mind that I wanted to fly, and what better than the jet I have been working on for five years and really grew to love, the A-10. It is more than just the jet that I love; it's the mission - Close Air Support! Working face to face with pilots on a daily basis and discussing with them exactly what they were doing out there intrigued me and made me want that job. I couldn't imagine a better job in the world. People close to me know that I have a passion for this and have asked me, "What if you won the lottery; you could just buy your own plane and fly." I tell them that it wouldn't be the same. As I said before, it is more than just the aircraft itself; it's the mission I love most; and knowing I could do that while serving my country at the same time! That's a dream job. Unfortunately for me, being 29 and only half way through college takes that away from me due to the age requirement.
What brought you to the MDANG?

How have you enjoyed your time here?
I have enjoyed my time very much. I love what I do and I love even more the reason I do it...to protect and defend our great nation. The Maryland ANG, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. military in whole is more than just a job...it's a family. This is why I continue to stay in the Guard and re-enlist. I love what I do and I am not ready to walk away from this family!


What is your favorite Air Force or military memory or story?
My favorite military story isn't really military related but the opportunity was afforded to me thanks to the military. It was back in 2013 and I was in transit to Estonia as part of Sabre Strike. Again, I was ESTA and was at an air base in transit to Estonia. The first night there a few crew chiefs and I decided to go out for a nice dinner. We went to lodging and had them call us a taxi.  At this point we had no clue where we were going yet. When the taxi arrived we asked our driver if he knew of a nice place we could grab dinner. He told us he had the perfect place and actually called and made a reservation for us. When we walked in the restaurant we were the only ones there. It was a beautiful place: small, quaint, extremely classy yet modern. When we were seated, there was slight communication barrier as the only waiter, who was dressed in a tuxedo, did not speak any English at all. The table was loaded with an abundance of silverware that most of us never even used: big forks, small forks, and smaller forks, the same with the spoons. When the waiter came around to serve us water, he poured it over his towel draped forearm as if he was pouring an expensive wine. We all thought that the taxi driver got one over on us and took us to the most expensive place in town.
Due to the communication barrier, the chef himself had to come out and explain the menu to us. He was very young, but so polite. When I asked him what the "Boca de Negra" was he said, "I will show you" and turned to the kitchen. He returned with what looked like a fresh caught red snapper on a silver platter. I was blown away by this and chose that as my meal.
The service throughout dinner was immaculate and the food was immaculate, all reaffirming our belief that the taxi driver got us. We all thought that this was going to be one of the most expensive meals that we have ever had. At this point we didn't care, thought due to the service, it was worth it and proceeded to all get dessert.
When the bill came out we were all proved wrong; completely wrong.  What we thought was going to be at least a $100 bill for each of us was in the range of $18-22. We thought there had to be a mistake. Because of this we requested that the chef come back out so we could talk to him and fix this mistake.
When we addressed the issue he began to tell us that this was no mistake at all. He then went on to inform us about the current economic situation and how he was trying to move to America to pursue his dreams of opening his own restaurant.
We talked more about the culture of the area and more about his plans and his past.
I was extremely taken by this experience. Still to this day, that was the best dining experience I have ever had and for the price of a mediocre meal at chain restaurant. On top of all of this, we learned there, they do not except tips. Of course we snuck our money on the table anyways!  


What are you passionate about?
If I could go back in time a few years, there would probably be a good chance that I could have had my dream job...as cliché as it sounds, to be a fighter pilot in our U.S. Air Force. I didn't grow up wanting to be a fighter pilot, or a pilot at all to tell you the truth. It wasn't until my second deployment in 2010 to Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan that the thought really crossed my mind that I wanted to fly, and what better than the jet I have been working on for five years and really grew to love, the A-10. It is more than just the jet that I love; it's the mission - Close Air Support! Working face to face with pilots on a daily basis and discussing with them exactly what they were doing out there intrigued me and made me want that job. I couldn't imagine a better job in the world. People close to me know that I have a passion for this and have asked me, "What if you won the lottery; you could just buy your own plane and fly." I tell them that it wouldn't be the same. As I said before, it is more than just the aircraft itself; it's the mission I love most; and knowing I could do that while serving my country at the same time! That's a dream job. Unfortunately for me, being 29 and only half way through college takes that away from me due to the age requirement.