B United: Melissa Dixon, US Air Force

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YOU GUYS. THIS WOMAN. I don’t have enough words to describe how incredible she is. She’s currently deployed overseas with the United States Air Force. She’s a MOM to an ADORABLE three-year-old little boy named Elijah. Her amazing husband, Dex, is ALSO in the Air Force! And she’s probably one of the most polite (she says, “yes, m'am!”) grateful human beings I have ever seen. Everyone, MEET MELISSA DIXON!

1.   Name:  Melissa Dixon

2.   Age:  29

3.   Hometown:  Compton, CA

4.   Family (significant other, children and their ages, fur babies, etc):  

My husband, Dex & son Elijah, (3 years old)

5.   Branch:  United States Air Force

6.   Job Title:  Equal Opportunity Director

7.   Job Description:  Prevention of unlawful discrimination and harassment.

8.   Enlist Date:  March 2010

9.   What motivated you to join the military?

The opportunity to travel, go to college, and serve our country. 

10.Are or were any of your family members in the military? If so, who and what branch?   

No immediate family in the military. I am the first person in the USAF and have family now looking to join when they graduate high school.

11.Why did you choose this branch?  

The way of life that is lived within the USAF and the mission. 

12.Tell me a little about your time in boot camp.  

Bootcamp was a memorable experience to say the least. The days were long, but the time flew by. It taught me patience, showed me how strong I really was physically/mentally, and to pay attention to detail- no matter how big or small. 

13.Where have you traveled to while in the service?

I have traveled to CA, FL, AR, LA, TX, Afghanistan, and a few of other places in the Middle East. 

14.What are some things you miss most about home when you are deployed?

My husband and son- they are my number one priority. I miss taking real showers (without having to cut the water on and off as you wash and rinse, lol), the food, and sleeping in my bed. There is so much people take for granted and when you’re deployed you learn to grow appreciation for all the small things in life.

15.Which medals or citations are you most proud to have earned and why? 

My first Commendation medal. This meant the most because as a Senior Airman, it is not common for an Airman to receive anything outside of an Achievement medal. This was the year I worked as supply in a maintenance unit and ended up winning the Airman of the year award for the entire group, which helped me achieve that Commendation medal that not many Airman get to receive. It showed me that hard work does pay off and I am just so proud!

16.What rank are you most proud to have earned and why?

I am most proud to have earned the rank of Technical Sergeant because they say it’s the hardest to make, so this was a huge milestone for me. 

17.What are some of the biggest challenges of being a woman in the military?

Some people still feel that women should not serve or that women are not capable of doing the same jobs as men, BUT we are here to show them otherwise. 

18.Tell me about some of the special people you have met.

I have met so many people, but the most special people I have met are now my extended “fr-amily.” There are so many of us that get stationed so far from family, that when you build those bonds with other military families, those friends become family forever and always “understand” what you go through being in the military. I truly LOVE and appreciate all of them. 

19.Do you plan to retire in the military? Or what are your post-military plans? 

I would love to retire one day, but it all depends on how often my husband and I have to go away. Being mil to mil can have its moments where you have to choose between your career and your family. Post-military, I want to work in the clinical psychology field to help others. 

20.How has your service and experiences affected your life? 

I have a greater appreciation for the small things in life and quality time with family. I am grateful for that of the places I have been able to visit, personal/professional goals I have been able to meet, my paid education, and the unlimited opportunities, and the extended family that has continued to grow over the years. I would go back and do it all over again!

21.What do you like to do for fun? 

I love spending time with family, working out, and shopping. 

22.How do you stay in shape?

I stay in shape by watching my portion sizes, keeping an active lifestyle that fits my schedule, and swapping out candy for protein bars. 

23.What makes you feel strong?

My husband and family. They are the best support system and help me stay on track to being the best me possible. Working out and taking time to breathe help me keep a strong mental focus and also help me pass my PT test, lol!

24.Favorite part of your job:  

Helping people! I love helping people overcome things.