Fern Tigner – Summary of my Military Experience At the tender age of 18 years old, having grown up in a very small southern town, I was the typical innocent minded young girl of the early 1960’s.
There were limited career/future options for our generation to look forward to. We, who had been taught, and believed, that we could pursue the things we dreamed of, and could make them a reality, were excited to get started on that road.
I, having been raised by people who were known to me as my grandparents, saw life in a completely different way than that of my peers, the majority of them had been raised by their biological parents, and they had their family units close around them, and I had not. I was an old mind with the dreams and desires of my young years. I was born a dreamer with belief that dreams do come true, topped off with the tenacity taught by my grandparents, could not wait to get started on that road in life!
With the realization, when faced with the point in time where I had to decide how to create a roadmap to accomplish my dreams, I ran into some difficulty. There was very little to choose from in my hometown, nothing that even began to come close to what I wanted to pursue as a career.
With prayer, as I had been reared to believe, I stood firmly on it. There would be many obstacles ahead. God knew this and only allowed them to come into my life, one at a time. I was fortunate to have God guiding my decision to know the choice of joining the Air Force was the vehicle that would give me the solid foundation to move me along my road of development. He also knew the pitfalls and obstacles that I would have to battle on this road, which has been my journey in life.
My Air Force career began in February of 1964. I call this “My entry into the Real World” because little did I know my little world of innocence was being exited, never to be seen again.
I left Georgia on an airplane, my first flight ever, arrived in Texas, my first time in that state! There were so many firsts to be experienced on this road. Lackland AFB, Texas was known at that time as “The Gateway to the Air Force”. It truly was a gate for my life as I walked into a whole new world. I was very familiar with a lot of the things waiting there for the 30 or so of us in the little troop that was my Unit, and my new home for the next six weeks, or so.
Those things called Discipline, Hard Work, Schedules, Respect of Authority, and the learning of new things. All of this was the world I grew up in.
It was the meeting and learning to socialize with complete strangers in an intimate setting that was the really big change for me. The next biggest was not having my solid security wall around me – my home with my grandparents! Because I had the word of God indoctrinated in me, I was able to face anything that came my way, no matter how fearful I may have felt! I trained for this new way of life with an energy I’d never had before, which led to my career assignment, Accounting and Finance.
I served my country with energy, joy, excitement and then I married the man from my hometown. Soon we started a little family. This brought my beloved career to a screeching halt! During the early 60’s, a female service person did not have the same rights as a male service person. We were not allowed to pro-create-whether married or single. This warranted an immediate discharge from active duty!
This did not dampen my desire to serve my country. After raising my family, to what I considered an appropriate age, I chose to pick up and continue my military career as an Air Force Reservist.
This career path started in the 94th TAC Air Force Reserve Base, Dobbins AFB GA. After serving around two years in this unit, I transferred to the TAC Medical Unit there. When my Civil Service Position moved me to the West Coast, I transferred my Reserve career to Travis AFB, CA. I
continued to serve in the Medical Unit there.
After After around five years, my Civil Service Position transferred me back to Georgia, and I transferred back into the same Medical Unit at Dobbins AFB. I continued there until I was discharged after many years. I served a total of 19 years.
During my years of service, I was blessed to travel outside the United States to other countries while serving to protect, with integrity and pride in my duties, while representing my country.
Life has brought me to this day, as I have been asked/invited to become a part of this wonderful organization, Women Veterans Day. I feel humble, honored, and appreciative to be a part of this great movement. It is with humility, prayers, and heart that I embark upon this mission. It is one that I
feel is led by God’s Guidance. I will give all of that which God renders to me to help in making this the best project in which he has allowed me to be a part of. With this I look forward to all whom I meet!