Voices of the VaANG: Airman 1st Class Jesse Lykins

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Lucretia Cunningham
  • 192nd Wing

“Music was my obsession from elementary school all the way to being a [music] teacher. But being in service to the country, to the state, and having wingmen, to me is literally the ultimate thing you can do to be a good person and to serve other people. When you’re a musician, a lot of it is all about you and how good you are. How much did you practice? How good was your performance?

When I tell people about my experience from music, to IT (information technology), to military, I tell them the music field really prepared me for the rigors that come with the military. I went to a high-quality undergraduate program...and as a percussionist, I was pretty serious. People thought we were crazy for living that life, but man, it was high caliber, it was high quality and it really did prepare me especially for basic military training which was 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. I think, because of that program, basic training wasn’t easy, but I got good at it because I figured out the system real fast.

I got a teaching job right out of college, and I was serving the public in that way but was conflicted because I wasn’t using all of my talents — I wanted more opportunity for growth through challenges. I didn’t feel like I was myself until I joined the military. I’m not really like a music teacher, it’s not really who I am, I was just really good at it — sort of what I had to do. 

Now, I’m going to pursue other things — I’m trying to transition my IT career into a career in federal law enforcement. I want more of that intensity and the challenge of essentially putting yourself on the line for other people.

I think the ultimate form of service is...it’s really not about you. Sacrificing for someone else is the ultimate display of love, or sisterhood and brotherhood. Especially in today’s age where everything seems to be about your profile pic or your performance on the music stage. We really can’t change anything, or change the world for the better, without sacrificing for others. I don’t know if other people agree with that, but that’s M.O.”

—Airman 1st Class Jesse Lykins,192nd Maintenance Group commander’s support staff