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By Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 17, 2019
Airman First Class Kaitlyn Coble, 21st Security Forces Squadron entry controller, poses for a photo for the Year of the Defender campaign at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Coble works as an entry controller for Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman Alexis Christian)
Everything happens for a reason — a common saying, but it’s one that Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Coble, 21st Security Force Squadron entry controller, adopted as a young college student when things weren’t going her way.
“Two bachelors degrees and a decade of management history later, I had gotten no further in life than that high school kid who thought the military was beneath her,” Coble said.
Coble never intended to follow her grandfather and great-grandfather’s footsteps and join the military.
“As a high school student, I viewed college as my only option upon graduation,” Coble said. “I was told continuously that I was too smart for anything else.”
She matured and learned how to turn an attitude into a work ethic, and she said her drive to succeed became a multi-tasking miracle.
“Deciding to join the Air Force was an agonizing decision, but looking back I would not change it,” Coble said. “What was once a tough, volatile life was suddenly a smooth path to follow.”
She explained that discipline she gained from working in food services with grueling shifts which propelled her through physical training in preparation for Air Force Basic Military Training.
“I was one of the few recruits who came into basic training with a job,” Coble said. “I was to be a linguist.”
However, she didn’t initially qualify for a top-secret clearance and therefore reclassified into security forces.
“I wanted to be security forces from the beginning,” Coble said. “My degrees are in criminal justice and animal behavior and my dream is to be a military working dog handler.”
While she was in technical school, she twisted both her knees, sprained her right ankle and had plantar fasciitis in her right foot.
“It was incredibly demoralizing, as I didn’t feel like I deserved to continue and that I was not good enough to do something I have wanted to do for a long time,” Coble said. “The lieutenants in charge of my squadron encouraged me to continue, helped ensure my physical health and turned my challenges into areas that would help me excel. It became an incredibly proud moment when I graduated with my team.”
Coble works as an entry controller for Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado. She ensures the security of the restricted area and assists those who work there to access the area by searching vehicles and personnel. Coble is responsible for responding to alarms and training new Airmen on procedures.
Although Coble has worked here for less than two years, she seeks out mentorship from all around her that offers her a different perspectives from their unique experiences.
“My flight sergeant, Tech. Sgt. Russell Caesar, has been a huge support of my career and an unending source of advice,” she said. “He has helped mold me, took my ideas seriously and pushed me into positions of responsibility to further my growth as an Airman.”
Outside of the military, her supporters are teachers and youth pastors.
“My highest highs and lowest lows have been with those people and they know my heart better than anyone,” Coble said. “I consult them before any major decision and they are enthusiastic proponents of me joining the military.”
Coble says her favorite part of the being in the military has been the stability.
“While the physical stability is not always guaranteed, knowing my family is going to be taken care of is most important,” she said.
In just over a year in the Air Force, Coble learned more about herself and her abilities than she would have learned under any other circumstance.
“My core belief persists; everything happens for a reason,” Coble said.
Coble’s family consists of her wife, April, and their three dogs, Sadie, Chelsea and Riley.