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15 minutes with 2019 Ada grad, Abby Chamberlain

"My goals are to retire in the Air Force with two degrees, English and diagnostic imaging."

15 minutes with Abby Chamberlain,
a 2019 Ada High School graduate.

When did you join the Air Force and where are you stationed?
I joined in August, 2019. I am stationed at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho. This is my first duty station.

What are some of your goals while in the military?
I plan on doing a full 20 years for retirement. My goals are to retire in the Air Force with two degrees, English and diagnostic imaging.

What decisions went in to joining the Air Force?
I joined because it was a good way for me to grow up and be myself and be a part of something bigger, plus all the great stuff that comes with it, such as free health care, college, free financial advice, and making friends for life. I want to be in a good place when I’m an adult and this was a great way to set me on the path of success. 

What’s your present status?
I am currently an A1C (Airman First Class) 2 stripes. My official title job is called operations manager.

What are some of the surprising things you’ve experienced about yourself since high school?
The hardest thing was being away. What surprised me was learning to become independent and doing things myself with like no guidance from others.

It was weird not asking my parents what things meant or what you are supposed to do in certain situations. I love that in my job I am not judged less just because my age doesn’t match my superiors, my opinion and work is valued no matter what. 

Who are some of the people who encouraged you in your career path?
The biggest influencers are my father, Richard Chamberlain, my brother-in-law Captain Roger Payne, who is also in the Air Force, and Sherry Miller, one of my teachers at Ada.

When someone asks where are you from, how do you answer?
I usually say something like, I’m from Ada, Ohio, a small town with a college ­– Ohio Northern University – if they have heard of it.

And, say my high school was a K-12. It was a great school and I enjoyed it a lot. The staff and teachers are so helpful and support your goals and needs.

With teachers at Ada it’s hard not to miss them and tell them just how much impact they had on me.

What advice do you have for Ada students making decisions for their own future?
For students who always like to achieve, or are always wishing for something more or better, or don’t really know what they want in life, I have one word: Military. Look into it.

Talk to someone and see what they offer. See what you could gain. This has been my goal for many reasons.

First, I didn’t have any college money and I don’t want be in a lot of debt.

Second, I wanted to go see the world.

And, third, I wanted to do something that made me feel great about myself and what I was doing. I wanted to be part of a team and have financial stability. I wanted a challenge that would make me better. Joining the military was the best thing I ever did.

What are some of the benefits, in your opinion?
I have so much free preparation for the future, it’s amazing. The benefits? Friendships you make for life, education, health care.

I was a student who sat in the back unnoticed unsure of how to make my dreams happen. Now I have a plan and I can see a future where I’m happy where I will be.  I love where I came from. I intend to come back after I have the adventure of a lifetime. 

Thank you for talking with us and stay in touch.