Monday, December 09, 2013

Airman's past inspires excellence

by Airman 1st Class Benjamin Raughton
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

12/9/2013 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- While many Airmen end up joining the U.S. Air Force for educational benefits, few start their journey "into the blue" from as far away as a war torn West African nation.

Airman 1st Class Tamba Benjamin-Pabie, 2nd Comptroller Squadron, was born in Liberia during a period of civil war between the Liberian government and rebel factions.

Eventually, he would join the Air Force in an effort to complete his education.

As an infant, however, war would tear his family apart.

"We fled from the war into a neighboring country, Sierra Leone, when I was about five months old," said Benjamin-Pabie. "During that time, my mom had become separated from my dad because of the war."

Continuing to flee the death and destruction, his family then fled into Guinea before coming to America.

"During that time, my siblings had migrated to America," he said. "When I was nine years-old, they sent for us and, through them, we were able to come to America."

Upon settling in America, Benjamin-Pabie was enrolled in a public school in Rhode Island.

"I graduated high school in 2008 and started college during the [summer] semester," Benjamin-Pabie said. "I began classes in mechanical engineering for a year. Then after a semester, because I had little money, I dropped out and went to a community college for a semester."

After attending a semester of community college, Benjamin-Pabie again dropped out because of dwindling resources.

"That's when I decided to join the Air Force," he said. "The Air Force, so far, has given me a new environment, and it's definitely a disciplined environment."

Now, Benjamin-Pabie processes vouchers for temporary duty assignments and permanent changes of station for Barksdale Airmen.

"Airman Benjamin-Pabie is detail oriented, which is important to have in the financial services flight," said Staff Sgt. Felicia Logsdon, 2nd CPTS financial services supervisor. "He also motivates others and their physical fitness to get the job done."

While Benjamin-Pabie continues his military career, his siblings have given him nieces and nephews.

"They're growing up and seeing the type of lifestyle I'm in right now," he said. "The military and discipline, the work and how it matures a person. They see me involved in that type of lifestyle and hopefully they'll take a full step [in joining the military] like I did."

Another achievement Benjamin-Pabie has accomplished is to become an Iron Airman, Barksdale's most difficult fitness accomplishment.

"I've always been fitness-minded," he said. "I love to challenge myself and go beyond things other people don't do or are not capable of doing."

Having trained in football, track, wrestling and boxing, Benjamin-Pabie is glad his physical prowess has benefited him in the military.

"I was able to help other Airmen get a higher score on their PT test," he said. "I always tell people anything is possible."

Since joining the military, Benjamin-Pabie feels the people he's met have become like a second family.

"I don't feel completely alone because I've met some good friends and co-workers here who help me through the tough times," he said.

Outside of the military, Benjamin-Pabie has a personal goal.

"There are children who have lost parents and lost families," he said. "I definitely want to help them out as well."

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