Year of the Airman; Senior Airman Nathan Carpenter

  • Published
  • By Maj. Neil Samson
  • 932nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

932nd AW: What inspired, or who inspired you to join the Air Force Reserve?

NC: I believe that Gen Colin Powell most inspired me to join the Air Force Reserve.  Gen Powell inspired me because I felt like at many points in my life I have been able to identify with him and his story.  Gen Powell grew up in Harlem, NY in the 1950’s and 1960’s and was really glossed over.  Growing up I lived in North Saint Louis County and I didn’t receive a top notch education, and I grew up with a lot of hardship just like Gen Powell.  I then identified the Air Force as a means to become the best because unlike in the civilian world the Armed Forces can be the closest thing to a meritocracy there is in the U.S.

932nd AW: What is your job title and a brief description?

NC: I am a General Law Paralegal.  In this duty I conduct legal research and writing on issues that are of concern for commanders in the wing and of our members that come to seek legal assistance, I communicate with external government agencies such as the DoJ as well as Congress on matters that concern the U.S. Air Force, conduct investigations into crimes concerning Air Force members, educate Airmen on the law and other relevant topics of the day, assist in trial strategy/preparation and assist in the adjudication of military justice matters.

932nd AW: What is your favorite part of your job?

NC: My favorite part of my job is when my knowledge and understanding of the law helps commanders accomplish the mission.

932nd AW: Does your job relate to your civilian life, job, hobbies, interests, school?

NC: My job relates very well to my interest, school, and job.  In my civilian capacity I attend The University of Missouri-Columbia(Mizzou) and there I study International studies with an emphasis area in pre law.  I am interested in the law because it impacts everything we do as Americans and the better one can understand the law the better they can then make decisions and lead.  Lastly, at Mizzou I participate in a work study at the MU Veterans Clinic and we provide free legal services to veterans that have issues with getting resolution to their claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  Without the experience I gained from being an Air Force Paralegal has helped me resolve many veterans claims related issues with the VA and that saved the clients more than $2,500,000 in medical related cost. 

932nd AW: Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

NC: I see myself graduating Mizzou and commissioning into the Air Force through ROTC and attending Undergraduate Pilot Training.  Additionally, I see myself applying to various Law Schools in the U.S.

932nd AW: You mentioned at today’s UTA kick-off that you would like to commission and become a reserve pilot and go to law school after UPT.  Is there any reason that is drawing you more towards being a AF Reserve pilot, especially a helicopter pilot, versus an active duty pilot?

NC: I want to be a helicopter pilot because of the air frames mission and the ability to cross train out of rotary and go to fixed wing.  I am drawn to the reserve because of the flexibility that is inherit to the organization.  In the reserve I can continue to progress my career while also advancing my education.  Additionally, active duty pilot contracts are 10 years long, so I would have to sacrifice a lot of life experiences and career goals just to fly, but in the reserve I would maintain my ability to attend law school, practice law, and fly!

Thank you Senior Airman Carpenter for sharing yourself with us.