KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Each member of the U.S. military joins for different reasons whether patriotic, for education benefits, to travel or provide a better life for their family members; regardless of why they joined their life changes as they transition from civilian to Airman.
To pursue her dream of serving in the U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Vera Povetina had to cross the ocean and travel across 11 time zones.
Growing-up in Kazakhstan Povetina loved watching American war movies. She thrived on watching the action, enjoyed the camaraderie and values portrayed in those films spawned her dream of someday wearing a U.S. military uniform.
“It was my childhood dream to join the military,” said Povetina, 335th Training Squadron student. “When I was just a little girl I saw movies about World War l and World War ll and it was so cool and exciting because of the action. I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself and be useful. The idea of America’s value of democracy and freedom mean a lot for me.”
As she went through school in Kazakhstan she learned the basics of the English language. After graduating high school she went on to graduate college with her degree in management.
After traveling to more than nine countries and taking on different logistics and management jobs, Povetina and her husband decided to fulfil his dream of opening up and managing a restaurant.
“He asked me if I was OK with opening the restaurant because it was his childhood dream,” Povetina said. “We both love Chinese cuisine so we decided to open a Chinese restaurant. We had the restaurant for four years so I was the manager there.”
Povetina used her knowledge of management and logistics to help her husband fulfil his dream but for her something missing.
“In Kazakhstan we have a lottery where you can receive your green card,” Povetina said. “I set reminders for myself almost every day to fill out the paperwork for it.”
At the age of 34, she won that lottery. Povetina had an opportunity to fulfill her dreams.
“When I won it, we had to make the final decision to move to America,” she said.
Just a few months after living in the U.S., Povetina stepped off of the bus at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for Air Force Basic Military Training. Even though she spoke several languages and knew the basics of English, Povetina needed help learning the military’s unique language
“I love challenges,” Povetina said. “Going through basic training was a difficult experience for me. One of the tough things was the language. The language used in the military is not the same one I read in the books in school. The girls in my flight helped me a lot with understanding what was being said.”
Povetina graduated from basic military training and made her way to Keesler AFB for the financial management course. Just a few months into her career, Povetina has set her eyes on a new goal – becoming an officer in the Air Force.
“I’ve met a lot of really good people so far in the military,” Povetina said. “The officers are really patient and involved in their jobs and I love that. If people love what they do then they do it better. They are role models for me and how I need to behave myself. My plan is to become an officer so I can be that for other Airmen.”
Povetina’s driven personality is a result of always setting and accomplishing goals ever since she was a child, said Nadezhda Povetina, her mother.
“I was scared when she decided to join the military but I know Vera is independent and able to accomplish things on her own,” Nadezhda said. “I believe she will have a good career in the Air Force because she is smart and clever. When she makes a decision and creates a goal she makes sure she gets it done.”
Povetina achieved her dream by setting goals, not shying away from obstacles and through the camaraderie she found in the Air Force.
“Ever since I was a child I love challenges so I would always set goals for myself,” Povetina said. “Even if it took me longer to complete it I would always accomplish my goals. I am driven by my goals. Nothing and no one is perfect but it seems like everyone here in America tries their best at what they do and that’s what I strive to be like each day.”