When Air Force Senior Airman Kara Watts was a college student and
searching for inspiration, she said she only had to look as far as
her mother's military service.
Now, Watts and her mother, Air
Force Maj. Tobie Wethington, an information management information
technology fellow at Defense Information Systems Agency, are both
serving on active duty.
Then-Air Force Airman 1st Class Kara Watts and her mother, Maj. Tobie Wethington, attend the Air Force surgeon general's promotion at Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Va.,
in 2015. Watts, now a senior airman and a 66th Comptroller Squadron administration specialist, and Wethington, an Information Management Information Technology fellow at the Defense Information Systems Agency, are both active-duty airmen.
"Growing up, I was always very proud that my mother was
in the military," said Watts, an administration specialist
assigned to the 66th Comptroller Squadron. "Watching my mom
advance through her career really inspired me to follow in
Wethington's career began with her
enlistment on Christmas Day 1991. She then spent nine years
on active duty before transferring to the New Mexico Air
National Guard. After 9/11, the then-staff sergeant said she
decided to continue her career on active duty. Armed with a
bachelor's degree, she was commissioned in 2002. And now,
she said, she's a proud mom.
"I am honored that my
daughter would choose the same path that I chose," she said.
Service Runs in the Family
The mother and daughter airmen are not the only ones in
the family who have served in the military. "Each of my
grandfathers served in the military, as well as my uncle who
recently retired from the Air Force," Watts said.
It's her lineage that the 21-year old taps into
when faced with a decision regarding her career.
"When I need sound advice regarding my career, my mom is
usually the first person I call," Watts said, adding that
her entire family is always there for her. "My mom is my
first stop when it comes to my career because she's the most
knowledgeable and trusting person I know -- she's been in my
shoes as a young airman."
Watts said that, special
bond with her mother became apparent early in her Air Force
"One of the more memorable moments for me in
my career was when I was first issued my Air Force uniforms
while I was in basic training," Watts said. "I was
accustomed to seeing my mom in uniform and now I'm wearing
it, which is something I will always cherish."
her mom, it was a different milestone in the young airman's
career that stands out.
"Watching my daughter
flourish in the Air Force has been very rewarding," she
said. "Being able to attend her promotion ceremony in June
to senior airman -- after being selected below-the-zone --
is something that really meant a lot to me and made me very
'Blazing Her Own
Wethington added that while members of
the family often compare the two and the success they've
had, the officer reminds them that Kara "far exceeded all
that I had accomplished before I was a senior airman."
The accomplishments are many. Watts has served as the
Patriot Enlisted Association president, is a member of the
Patriot Honor Guard, serves as secretary of a local
Toastmasters chapter, helped organize a book drive for the
underprivileged, was a project officer for last year's
Women's History Month, and has volunteered in the local
"I could not be more proud of her,
and I am glad that she is blazing her own path," Wethington
said. "I look forward to seeing what she will do in the
Watts said it's very comforting to know that
she has such a supportive family. "It makes me proud of
myself to know that I am following in the footsteps of my
family, and that every time I put my uniform on, I'm not
only representing the Air Force, but I'm representing my
family," she said.
By Mark Wyatt
66th Air Base Wing / U.S. Air Force
DOD News / Defense Media Activity
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