EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- A year ago, the world began altering work centers and conducting business a little differently as we all learned together the protective health measures in response to COVID-19. The operations changed for many, including joining the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard.
Airman 1st Class Lyndzie Carter of the 168th Medical Group, 168th Wing, joined as a public health technician, May of 2020 and went to basic training in the middle of COVID-19.
“Joining during COVID-19 meant having to march around in a mask in the hot Texas summer sun,” said Carter.
Basic training and technical school procedures changed, but the mission to train new Airmen continued.
“My family wasn’t allowed to come to watch me graduate,” said Carter. “We marched around an empty stadium while my parents watched from their living room.”
During technical school, the students were screened for COVID-19 daily and continued to wear a mask.
After basic training and technical school, Carter returned home to the 168th Wing Medical Group and was an integral part of the mission as public health.
“I was able to medically deploy hundreds of Airmen, do countless audiograms while also helping our active-duty counterparts conduct contact tracing,” said Carter. “We spent long hours on contact tracing for active duty, guard members, spouses, and dependents and also educating on COVID-19 proper safety protocols.”
Carter was recognized for response efforts with COVID-19 receiving the Airman of the Quarter for Medical Group and getting coined by the 354th Force Support Flight commander.
“Thankfully, COVID-19 cases have gone down on the installation, making our lives a lot less chaotic,” said Carter.
Carter plans to attend college full-time this summer to pursue her degree in Elementary Education.
“Even with my humble beginning into the Air Force, I’m forever grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me and can’t wait to continue serving alongside my amazing brothers and sisters in uniform,” said Carter.
She learned about the career field before COVID-19, talking about joining the guard while working at the coffee place on base.
“Senior Airman Tristan was in public health and invited me to check out the job,” said Carter. “I didn’t know how diverse the career field could be.”
Carter said she enjoys the job because she likes helping people — educating people on their deployed locations and providing the information is the best part. It is nice to send them off to a deployed site informed and see them come back home safe.