KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea --
Jumping hurdles, running races and crossing finish lines aren’t actions just reserved for the track. For some, it is a metaphor for life. For SSgt Whitney Montoya, her life race is what drives her forward.
Whitney, currently a paralegal with the Wolf Pack’s Area Defense Counsel, didn’t always live the life of a military justice advisor. When she first entered into the U.S. Air Force in 2008, she was a small-town girl with a Security Forces contract and classmates who thought she was crazy for choosing the military over college. But that didn’t stop her.
Throughout her two deployments as a Defender—Bagram as an M240 gunner and Ali Al Salem where she forward deployed to Kabul as a Fly Away Security Team member— Whitney faced cultural and career hurdles. As one of a few females, and often the only female, in the predominantly male Security Forces Squadrons she served with, she remained strong and undeterred, finding her niche as a successful Defender.
Some of Whitney’s hurdles came in the form of conflict with her supervision and leadership. While some might back down or leave the Service because of the challenges she experienced, Whitney stayed in – if only to become the kind of leader who could help Airmen in similar situations to also persevere. If you haven’t notice, the common theme of Whitney’s life is nothing can stop her.
Whitney, grounded by her loving family, is driven toward the goals she set for herself. One recent goal involved the completion of her Master of Science in Psychology degree. One might think that once a goal has been tackled that’s it. However, achieving a goal doesn’t mean the end for Whitney—it means she sets a new goal. If you’re wondering whether this driven NCO is able to “finish the race” both literally and metaphorically, then the answer is assuredly yes.
Literally, she looks to running and physical fitness in times of stress and adversity (she’s never scored below a 100 on her Fitness Assessment!). Recently, she raced in the DMZ Half Marathon in Seoul, finishing with an impressive time just under 1 hour and 49 minutes. She even sprinted the last portion just to be sure to beat the few last men racing beside her.
Be on the lookout for the hurdling of her next obstacle—earning a commission through Officer Training School.
Keep up the amazing work SSgt Montoya, and we’ll try to keep pace!