Why I wear the uniform

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sean Traster
  • 50th Security Forces Squadron
The Airman Battle Uniform, otherwise known as ABU’s, is the uniform I and many other Airmen put on every day when we report to duty. To the outside world, it is nothing more than another camouflage uniform worn by a branch of the United States military. However, to anyone who has ever or still puts it on today knows it’s more than just a uniform. It’s a symbol, a symbol I am honored to wear every day.

While in basic training and technical training, I had three reasons every morning as I put this uniform on that made all the struggle, all the blood, sweat and tears I shed with my fellow wingmen worth it.

The first reason is my wife, Lauren. When I met her two years ago in the middle of my college career I wanted to be a Sailor. I wanted to defend this great country by sea. After much discussion, she being what many in the Air Force call an “Air Force brat,” convinced me to join the greatest Air Force in the world.

Next to my mother, my wife is the strongest woman I know, and she deserves the absolute best. So when I was getting screamed at in basic, or crawling through the mud in the pouring rain out at Camp Bullis, Texas, I kept telling myself I will not give up because I cannot let Lauren down.

The second reason is for my older brother, Ethan. I have always wanted to be just like him. Everything Ethan did, I had to do. From the time I was little I saw him as a role model, someone to look up to, a hero. Once he graduated the South Dakota Police Academy I knew I wanted to be a police officer, just like my brother. No matter the occasion, my brother runs toward the sound of chaos. I hope while I wear the uniform that I run just as fast toward that sound, and upon arrival I am just as good of as he is.

I carry a very heavy heart with the third and final reason why I wear the uniform. My best friend and roommate in college was the most devoted person I know. His dream was to become a doctor, and he devoted every second of his life to becoming one. In his free time he did clinical shadowing, submitted many journals for publishing and many other things not required of him in order to build his resume to get into Medical School. However, the stress became too great for him and he thought there was only one way out. On July 2, 2017, my best friend, roommate, and a man I considered family, took his own life. I stand here today to live my dream because he can’t live his. I carry his memory with me every day to remind me no matter how hard my day was or how stressful it may get, I will never give up on my dream. I couldn’t think of a better way to honor him than to put this uniform on and live out my dream of being a police officer.

It is an honor to be able to have my father’s and grandfather’s name on this uniform. Every morning when I leave the threshold of my home, my shoulders are back, chest out, and head held high knowing I serve in the world’s greatest Air Force and defend the best country.

I promised to run toward the sound of chaos and protect all. I will keep that promise and wear this uniform with pride.