Face of Defense: Airman Transforms Traumatic Experience Into Triumph


“Life comes in seasons,” said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nakisha Simon, the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group bioenvironmental engineering noncommissioned officer in charge. “If I didn’t get the help I needed, I don’t believe I would have seen the next one.”

Simon is deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Whether she is testing base drinking water, identifying and reducing hazardous noise in the workplace, identifying the need for chemical-protective clothing or improving indoor air quality, her job is to help her fellow airmen keep the mission going.

However, at one point in her life, Simon, a former victim’s advocate and 15-year veteran from Pasco, Washington, was the one who needed assistance. 

“I was at a very stressful point in my life,” she said. “When I was in my sophomore year of high school, I felt there was a lot of pressure on me to succeed. Looking back, I know I placed much of that pressure on myself. But to me, it was overwhelming. And that’s the thing. What may not be a big deal to one person may be a big deal for someone else.”

Unfortunately, this combination of stress and anxiety resulted in Simon’s attempts to make an irrevocable decision. Upon waking in the hospital room and seeing her loved ones worried for her, she realized life had other plans in mind.

“I…

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