USAF, A1C, Stateside
Shaye Rodesky arrived in the world in 1995, just minutes ahead of her twin Danielle, born to parents Julie and Dan. They were brought home from the hospital to their home in Findlay, Ohio.
Shaye and Danielle attended Liberty-Benton High School where both played on the varsity softball team, Shaye-catching and her sister at third. Shaye was not a fan of history and memorizing dates, instead focusing on writing, especially enjoying creative poetry. Shaye also played the acoustic guitar which she had first picked up at the age of twelve.
When Shaye graduated in 2014, “My goals and thoughts were to find a way to serve my country and others. I believed in God and wanted to do something selfless.”
Her military career didn’t start off smoothly. Meeting with a Army National Guard recruiter, Shaye recalls, “I felt talking with the recruiter that I had little options of jobs. I felt pressured to sign up for the military police. Next thing I knew was being driven to MEPS and within a few days was on my way to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic.”
Shaye realized shortly after arriving that she had made a serious mistake, that she wasn’t prepared for the “screaming, the intensity of basic” “I lasted seven weeks before the Army and I came to an agreement that this was not a good fit.”
Shaye returned home, very confused, feeling defeated, having no clue what to do next. She worked for a local candy factory for a bit before moving over to work at a coffee house near a college campus. “As my thoughts and head cleared, I knew I still wanted to be involved in something “bigger than me.”
Shaye visited with an Air Force recruiter after nearly a year back home. It was then she found out she currently was not eligible for enlistment because of her leaving basic early. “I was told it would take 5-6 months to apply for and hopefully receive a waiver to reenlist.”
Shaye received her waiver and took the oath to enter the Air Force arriving at Lackland AFB on January 3rd, 2017. This time she was better prepared and successfully completing basic training. “I was the only female to qualify as Marksman with the new M-4.”
Shaye had signed up to become a crew chief for F-16 aircraft and was sent to Sheppard AFB, just outside of Wichita Falls, Texas. A crew chief’s duties are to oversee and approve all preflight jobs necessary for an F-16 to launch. “We do engine runs, flight control ops checks, diagnostic tests. Once the pilot has boarded, we communicate via headphones to do flight control checks of stabilizers.”
After six-months Shaye completed her training and was transferred to Shaw AFB located near Sumter, South Carolina, joining the 20th Fighter Wing, nicknamed the “Shooters.” She arrived in September of 2017 quickly realizing that female crew chiefs were a rarity as there were only three out of the fifteen crew chiefs in her squadron.
Over the next eighteen months Shaye, now an Airman First Class, became very skilled and respected as a crew chief. When an opening to join the Air Force Honor Guard was posted, Shaye applied and was accepted to the program. After three weeks of intensive training where she learned precision, ceremony, flag folding and preforming military honors burials, Shaye joined the Honor Guard that served a region covering North/South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
During her six month attachment her unit performed 103 details laying veterans to rest and celebrating retirements. “It was a special time for me. I felt like I took God everywhere with me during these ceremonies. There is a powerful, spiritual feeling when you “transfer” the folded flag to a family member. You can tell by looking in their eyes.”
Shaye also noticed a change in herself. “I felt more sharpened, took more pride in what I was doing. The dress blues were so sharp. I did well enough to become a trainer for new Honor Guard members.”
Visiting with Shaye while home on leave, she shared a desire to change direction in her service in the Air Force. “In three months, I can apply to cross train and I want to apply to become a Chaplains Assistant.” Shaye is also up for base reassignment and she is looking at possibly heading to Italy for a six-month deployment.
After working 12-14-hour long shifts on the flight line as a crew chief, Shaye relieves stress by doing cross training workouts. She also goes off base to Columbia for massages and free time. She has a serious relationship with a fellow airman Erik, a native of Texas.
With 15 months left on her initial contract, soon to be Senior Airman Rodesky has decisions to make. If the Chaplain Assistant slot opens, she will reup for at least two more years. If not, she will likely join Erik in Texas where he is currently building a house. She plans on using her GI Bill to complete a degree in Psychology. “I have lots of avenues and opportunities to explore.”
Thank you, A1C Rodesky, for your service to God and Country! Good luck with all your future endeavors.