Why I serve: Senior Airman Kaytlyn Boice

  • Published
  • By Julie Svoboda
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

Born in Alaska and raised in multiple foster homes, Senior Airman Kaytlyn Boice, Medical Materials Specialist, knew early on that she wanted more from life than the addiction, crime, and early death that plagued too many of her peers. But after she graduated from high school, she found herself without many options.

“I was actually homeless, and I didn't have a scholarship waiting for me or even a place to stay,” she said. “I wanted to go to college, but I just didn't have the money or the means for it.”

Despite these challenges, Boice was determined to work in healthcare – a field that had interested her since her childhood days of caring for foster siblings.

Drawing on memories of holiday phone calls with relatives who had served and her own experiences in Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training, Boice decided the military provided the best chance at a brighter future. Defying the odds and low expectations of those around her, she embarked on a new life in the Air Force.

“A lot of people told me I would never accomplish anything, or I couldn't make it, or I was trying to bite off something too big to chew essentially, like I was just shooting too high,” she said. “And so, I genuinely think that you are your own barrier - you only go as far as you'll push yourself.”

Once in the Air Force, Boice’s focus shifted from showing others what she could do to challenging herself to achieve even more.

“At first, I did join to kind of prove everyone wrong, and for all the possible benefits that military offered. But at the end of the day, I realized that because even once I made it, it's like ‘okay, I made it into the military, what now?’ It’s been a continuous competition. And it just really comes down to how hard you push yourself and how much knowledge you're willing to absorb in terms of your career field and professional development.”

She describes her career as medical logistics. Her team supports Sheppard Air Force Base along with two active National Guard and Army units in Fort Worth.

“We handle anything to do with deployments and supporting missions overseas and getting our people sent out for mission readiness in terms of their medications in case they come in contact with any possible viruses like anthrax,” she said. “In terms of the clinical side, we supply different sections like women's health, laboratory, or pharmacy with any pharmaceuticals or supplies they may need to provide their health care to their patients.”

Although it’s not the healthcare career she envisioned, Boice finds it rewarding.

“I enjoy the fact that I can help so many different patients,” she said. “If I was just working in a laboratory, I would only help lab patients or if I was just in immunizations and giving people shots, I'd only give shots, but in my current position, I can help anyone and everyone who needs medical care. I think that it has a larger reach to care for any patients who need it. It took me a while to see it that way because I was very upset that it wasn't as hands on as I'd hoped. But again, it just came down to my perspective and what I made of it.”

Boice aspires to study forensic pathology with the intention of helping families find answers during a time of loss and grief. She credits her experiences in the Air Force for providing the opportunities for growth that helped develop this plan.

“In terms of a transition between setting up a possible lifelong career, or quality of life or experiences, the Air Force does offer a lot of those things,” she said. “When it comes to what you want to accomplish in life, you are the one that sets your own boundaries. And so, just always take a step back look at different perspectives and try to figure out what your end goal is and then try to find the steps to get to that goal.”

Boice continues to challenge herself to grow and succeed; her next steps include re-enlisting and joining her husband, a soldier, in Alaska.