There are many different ways people can leave the nest: some people plan for years, some make a sudden jump and some are forced out.
Many service members, however, share a common type of departure from their previous homes. Most know ahead of time when their PCS dates are, where they will be going and how they’ll get there.
What happens after basic training? What comes next when specific job training is done? How does a newly minted Airman, Marine, Sailor or Soldier continue to grow at their first duty station, and what do they look like after their first permanent change of station?
Senior Airman Giovanni Pinzon, former 86th Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance crew chief, recently completed his first three years as an independent adult and Airman while overseas.
“Living abroad is definitely an experience in and of itself,” said Pinzon, a Melbourne, Florida, native. “I had to start my new life from scratch. It was time for me to make new friends, build a new support system, and I had to do all of this far away from home.
“I’m here. I’m living alone for the first time in my life. I have a handful of new responsibilities and no one watching over my shoulder walking me through everything,” Pinzon continued. “At first it’s nerve racking. It takes a minute to get used to, and then you slowly begin to realize how liberating the experience is and how many opportunities present themselves to you, so you can continue to grow and pursue your passions.”
Providing a platform to succeed and anchor off of is something Pinzon said he feels is necessary for anyone starting off on their own, whether its work, friends or family.
“The Air Force taught me since day one that sometimes you’re going to have to deal with situations unexpectedly thrown at you,” Pinzon said. “It showed me how important teamwork is, and it also enforced how important it was for me to have a tight network of friends to rely on.
“I’m able to take those lessons and continually apply them to my job and my life,” Pinzon continued. “I may not always see on the same level of those above me, however I still take full reasonability and pride in my work in front of me. Regardless of the situation, I know there are others down the chain relying on me for my part.”
Pinzon said it hasn’t all been rainbows and butterflies either. He had to make decisions every single day that affected his future, but looking back, he now knows what helped him.
“Arriving on the realization that my current job isn’t something I see making a career out of was difficult,” Pinzon said. “My job has shown me that I am able to accomplish what I set out to do. There are plenty of opportunities available for me to continue to strengthen myself, such as schooling and training opportunities.
“Having that confidence instilled in me is what has changed inside me the most,” he continued. “And with that I know I can continue to improve.”
Having been home only once in his three years since being overseas, Pinzon took a stance that home for him had changed and that it wasn’t necessarily in Melbourne anymore.
“I never regret leaving,” Pinzon said. “I miss it of course, but I feel like enlisting and ending up in Ramstein was the most beneficial decision I could have made.
“Home nowadays feels a bit more vacant, slow paced and a bit faded,” he continued. “I think about who I would be and what I would be doing if I never left Florida frequently. But I can’t imagine how my life would have begun to shape if I didn’t enlist and how much I would have missed out on.”
Now another chapter is beginning in Pinzon’s life. No longer will he call Ramstein and the KMC home. After three years, he’s packing his bags and is headed to England.
“It’s difficult to try to summarize my time here,” Pinzon said. “It’s been completely unpredictable. I never really knew what was coming next or where my next adventure would be. All I knew is that I finally felt confident enough to tackle what life was throwing at me.”