Today’s Episode is Sponsored By:
Staff Sergeant Raymond Aguilar, U.S. Air Force
Airman Devin Powell
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now, here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:24] Welcome to another exciting and informative edition of Cherokee Business Radio. Stone Payton here with you this morning. And today’s episode is brought to you in part by our local small business initiative, the Business RadioX Main Street Warriors. Defending capitalism, promoting small business and supporting our local community. For more information, go to. Main Street Warriors dot org and a special note of thanks to our title sponsor for the Cherokee chapter of Main Street Warriors, Diesel David Inc. Please go check them out at Diesel. David.com. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast, no stranger to the Business RadioX microphone,Staff Sergeant with a little organization you may have heard called the United States Air Force, Mister Raymond Aguilar. How you been, man?
Raymond Aguilar : [00:01:16] I’ve been doing good,man. Thank you for having me again.
Stone Payton: [00:01:18] Oh, what a delight to have you back in the studio. For those listeners who did not hear our episode, tell them a little bit about what you’re out there trying to do for folks. What is your mission and purpose in this work?
Raymond Aguilar : [00:01:31] Yeah, so I am an active duty United States Air Force recruiter. I am my office located in Marietta, Georgia, right there on Whitlock Ave next to Marietta High School. And for me, it’s just to promote the United States Air Force as a whole, understanding to where people are trying to change their lives for the good. Some people need structure, discipline, anything like that to just better themselves or just overall goals that they need help achieving. So for me, I try to help them out the best way I can listen to what their concerns are and if they’re a good fit and if their goals are achievable through the United States Air Force. I am a, you know, a shepherd to lead them to the right way. So I try to help them out the best way I can. When it comes to that.
Stone Payton: [00:02:19] It sounds like great work. It’s got to be incredibly rewarding. How did it all get started for you? Were you recruited early? So because you look young to me, man. Yeah.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:02:29] Don’t let the gray hair fool you, I guess, right? Well, like, at first it was just like, okay, so I didn’t join right out of high school because I was like, okay, I just want to, you know, work, go to the workforce and, you know, hang out with my friends because I didn’t want to leave home. And it was always that stipulation like, no, this is where I’m comfortable.
Stone Payton: [00:02:48] Right, Right.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:02:49] And I waited about four years and then I was like, okay, I need to do something. I need a career, something that I feel like a sense of pride, nothing that I mean, I was a waiter, nothing against like people who are waiting tables or anything like that. I just felt like I needed to do something more. I was making good money. I interacted with the groups pretty well, like I had a great time, but again, I needed something more. So I reached out to an Air Force recruiter. It was hard because there’s very few of them out there. They don’t cover a wide range. They cover a wide range of area, but there’s not that many. So the other branches have multiple recruiters in a smaller area. So we’re always competing against that, right? So right. But in high school, I never got the, Uh, let’s say, I got hit up by the Army, the Marines, Navy, everyone but the Air Force.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:03:49] And I thought, did I not qualify? Like, why not? I had the decent scores and stuff, so I’m like, why am I getting, you know, I wouldn’t say ambushed, but why is there more interest than the other branches and not this one? So I went out to the Air Force when I had time just to kind of elaborate things, and I simply just like, Hey, this is what I want to do. The recruiter helped me out and say, Hey, you need to do X, Y and Z. I accomplish all what I needed to do. And then 11 years later, here I am. So was there a point at which you were thinking to yourself and weighing because you were aware of these other opportunities, weighing one branch against the other, and you said, You know what, I’m leaning to the Air Force because I like this or I don’t like this about another branch. Was there like a something that said, Yeah, I’m going Air Force? Or was it because they were hard to get? It was it was really that for me, it was just like, right.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:04:43] Like if I’m good enough for all these, what makes me not good enough for this branch? So for me, it was almost like a challenge. Like now I want to prove to you that, hey, I should be good enough. Like, and it’s not the fact that I was like, good enough as like, No, you’re not good enough. It’s just the fact that there wasn’t that many people or that recruiter was like, Yeah, man, like, I’ll help you out. Like it was. I would say for me, it was the big thing of an opportunity to travel. Education was a big thing because Air Force values education. And then the fact is that you are going into as soon as you sign up for the Air Force, you’re joining you’re enrolled in college right away. Wow. Yeah. So it’s just one of those things that I’m not just joining the military just to join, but I’m also gaining educational benefits from that to be able to at least come away from it because the military is just temporary. I want to make sure I come away with something else as well.
Stone Payton: [00:05:39] So you mentioned a couple of times about the recruiter helping out, and that really is a big part of the job, right, is to help the new recruit navigate and get qualified or talk a little bit about that.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:05:51] So it’s a main thing is like understanding like for someone who was in high school or, you know, a graduate or if they’re not a graduate or if they’re not a US citizen or if they went overseas like they got their education overseas. They’re not from this country. There’s so many things that it’s usually like it’s easier, obviously, if you’re from this country and you are coming right out of high school, you just need driver’s license, Social Security card, birth certificate, high school diploma. If you’re a high school senior, you just need the three. You don’t obviously you don’t have your high school diploma just yet. Right. But to get the process started, you need all these things non US citizens, you know, you need to have you need to have at least your residency card because if they have a visa, I can’t work with that. It’s just not just me. It’s just my hands are tied, right? So overseas education, we have to get overseas education validated through our system. And if it’s not in our system that someone has joined from that school, we have to get it, make sure it’s validated to where it’s under US standards. So it just depends. Let’s see.
Stone Payton: [00:06:56] You kind of help them, at least coach them up on getting physically ready and prepared for that initial training.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:07:02] Yeah, for the most part, it’s like at basic training, like we just have them focus on mile and a half run push ups and sit ups. So that’s for us, that’s what they need to do. So making sure that they’re aware of those things. We also have the late entry program app. So once they are waiting for a job, there’s the delayed entry program app that we’re actually says, you know, if you’re not used to physical activity, it gives you a workout plan to be able to kind of like, yeah, go especially for the time of COVID. Some people weren’t out and about and doing those things. So it does kind of gives you more of a almost like a couch to five K routine to where build up slowly, make sure you’re not hurting yourself, but also take care of yourself for the long term. Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:07:46] All right. You brought one of your rock stars with you, right, man? Introduce our other guest and let’s get let’s let’s, let’s get it from his perspective. Yeah.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:07:54] So I brought with me Airman First Class Devin Powell. Met him a while back. And like you said, he came back for a recruiter’s assistance program to kind of help me out. It’s been exceptional. And like from the get go, like Devin, if you want to speak about your experience from your from the beginning when we first met.
Stone Payton: [00:08:15] Well, first of all, I got I’m fact checking, man. Has it truly been exceptional? Yes. Or is he just talking about you being exceptional?
Devin Powell: [00:08:22] No, no. It’s been a little bit of both, man. He’s not a bad guy. It’s been an overall very good process. Again, I had to kind of like what he was saying earlier. You know, I never really had Air Force recruiters, you know, reach out to me. I had to, you know, do the investigation myself and look into finding people. And that’s how, you know, this whole process started.
Stone Payton: [00:08:48] So you say when you were had to do the investigation yourself, you must have been motivated, though, at that point already to find out something. Was there was there a catalytic moment in your life or something that said, you know what, I’m really going to consider going into the military, so I’m going to start looking into this.
Devin Powell: [00:09:04] Yeah, So it started when we actually first moved to Georgia. I joined JROTC as a freshman and it actually wasn’t really my choice. I was kind of persuaded by my mom. She shout out to Mom, Way to go, Mom. Yeah, she she’s the one who persuaded me to to join. I was like, Oh, I’ll try it out. But I wasn’t really going for it. And then I actually really liked the program and I stuck through the program for four years and then I went to college for a little bit. But while I was there, I was like, you know, I don’t know if this is really, you know, what I want to be doing. And I always knew the military was kind of like my my second option. And then I made the decision after like a year and a half of in college, you know, I was like, all right, I think I’m going to, you know, join join the Air Force. And I was, you know, working jobs at the time. And I was like, yeah, I definitely don’t want to be working at a at Publix for for, you know, six, seven more, more years.
Stone Payton: [00:10:06] So so there goes my public sponsorship. Thank you very much. So no, in my, you know, my whole frame of reference for all this is the movies. Right. So I figured that that Raymond found you a hustling pool at some pool hall and said, Hey, kid, there’s a better life out there.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:10:23] It wasn’t too bad. It was just like whenever he first reached out, I’m like, okay, fine. He had the support system. I think your mom and your brothers and sisters or your brothers all came in and stuff. So like, I had this whole family come in. I’m like, Oh, this is cool. So for me, I like that. Like, it shows the whole family.
Stone Payton: [00:10:41] Came in the office.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:10:41] Yeah. Yeah. I think your dad was in the waiting room. Yeah. So it was like it was more of like, there’s support there. Like, they encouraged this decision. So for him, he already had the buy in to where it’s like, okay, let me just go see and see if what I could do. His family is so supportive. And I mean. I wish there was other families like that that support, you know, their their child going in because they think the military is scary or at least for the Air Force, they think it’s scary. But I mean, for the most part, it’s just. His his parents trusted me, a total stranger to make sure I take care of them. I do that for anyone that I can. That comes in because I knew at my point I wanted to make sure I’m getting the right information. His family is great. And he has he is he has an awesome support system.
Stone Payton: [00:11:32] Okay. So you have this this family powwow. And then do we commit there or do we go back home over dinner and talk? Talk it over. So keep us going.
Devin Powell: [00:11:41] So what happened was, you know, I kindly like in my mind, I had already made made the decision. You know, in my mind, I was already in the Air Force. But, you know, I still had to, you know, take the steps to get there. Um, so over the course, I think it was about like 4 or 5 months I had to, you know, work out and, you know, meet the weight standards and, you know, take my ASVAB.
Stone Payton: [00:12:04] You have to gain or lose. I had.
Devin Powell: [00:12:07] To lose. Yeah. Okay.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:12:08] I did think it was much, but it was just a little bit to make sure that he was able to ship out. It was more precautionary, but he was he was already doing those things, running and everything. And he informed me that right away. So the motivation was there. So I knew like, okay, let’s let’s keep this motivation going. So.
Stone Payton: [00:12:26] Yeah. All right. So go ahead. So you took the time to start really getting ready?
Devin Powell: [00:12:30] Yeah. And then and I think it was around July, I want to say, when I signed my contract. And then at that point, I was waiting just to receive my job. And it was actually on my youngest brother’s birthday because I have three younger siblings. Sergeant Aguilar called me and he told me the job that I had got. So I was really, really excited about that.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:12:54] Yeah, I think your mom, like, screamed in the background too, because.
Devin Powell: [00:12:57] I think so. I think so, yeah.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:12:58] Because she was like, Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:13:00] So do you typically find that out before you even get going or is that not always the case?
Raymond Aguilar : [00:13:04] It’s not always the case because it just depends on when the jobs are available. I try to like what we do. We do a list of ten jobs and you’re guaranteed one of those ten jobs. I always advocate for the applicants that are coming in. Do your research. Don’t just take my word for it. The same stuff that I am saying you can find on Google unless there’s certain jobs on like top secret clearance and stuff that they’re not allowed to be on, you know, Google per the, you know, information security. But at the same time, it’s like do the research. It just shows that you are motivated and that’s what you want to do. And it’s an important decision for your life. Yeah. So you should take a little bit of consideration and want to like care about it a little bit. And Devin was doing that ten fold.
Stone Payton: [00:13:51] And so you were happy with the with the job selection?
Devin Powell: [00:13:54] Yes, I actually so going into it, it was refueler bomber, aircraft maintenance and going into it. I wanted to be a bomber. I wanted to work on bombers, specifically the B-1 Lancer. It’s a really it’s a supersonic bomber. And I ended up getting refueler. So, you know, I was like I was kind of bummed out about that. But then when I found out the base that I’m going to is actually back in my home state of Florida. So I’m really happy and blessed that, you know, it all worked out. So yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:14:33] All right. So where are we in the process right now? As of today?
Devin Powell: [00:14:35] So so right now, I actually just graduated tech school. I just left Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, about a week ago now. And, you know, like you said, I’m helping him on on rap. And I just graduated, I guess, from a really basically not knowing anything. So now I have a basic understanding of how my aircraft works. So I’ll get the rest of my training when I go down to Tampa and start actually working on my aircraft.
Stone Payton: [00:15:06] You get to go down to Tampa. Man, it sounds like hard. That’s beautiful. Good for you, man. Sarge got you hooked up, didn’t you?
Devin Powell: [00:15:12] I’m excited. I got I definitely got really lucky with my my base assignment because a lot of my peers, I’m the only one going to Florida in my class. And I want to say from like, the beginning of January, all the way up until like May, I saw a list of names going down to the same base as me, and there was only about like 12 people. And each graduating class has, you know, anywhere from 5 to 7 people. And a lot of people actually end up going to Kansas. So nothing against McConnell, but I’ve never been there and I definitely like Tampa a lot more.
Stone Payton: [00:15:49] It sounds exciting. So military class, what are the differences, if any, in attending military kind of classes and classes like you did in the public school system or other things?
Devin Powell: [00:16:02] So honestly, there really wasn’t much of a difference. It was really similar to my college class, especially in the in basic training, because we do get college credits for some of the classes that we do take, and it’s set up very much the same as it is in college. You know, you want to take notes and study and prepare and stuff like that, but honestly, there’s not not too much of a difference. The only difference is you’re in the Air Force.
Stone Payton: [00:16:29] Yeah. And then the food, do they feed you or are you on your own for food? How’s that part work?
Devin Powell: [00:16:34] So for the for the while I want to say for like the past like six months, it was like I guess automatically, you know, deducted out of my check and we can eat at the defect.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:16:48] The defect is a dining facility that they’re okay.
Devin Powell: [00:16:51] And, you know, that was really nice. I was able to get breakfast, lunch and dinner and basically eat as much as you want. There really wasn’t much of a limit. What was like.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:17:02] A favorite day? Like did they have a certain day that they were like, Oh, this.
Devin Powell: [00:17:05] Food is It was when they had the brisket. They had really good brisket.
Speaker5: [00:17:09] In Texas like you got.
Devin Powell: [00:17:11] Yeah, yeah. The brisket. The brisket was really good. Um, so it.
Stone Payton: [00:17:15] Wasn’t like mashed, you know, again, my whole frame of reference is TV and film, right?
Devin Powell: [00:17:19] Oh, yeah. No, no, it’s definitely. It’s definitely a lot better than what the TV makes it seem, especially being in the Air Force. Like, you know, a lot of our facilities are just up kept to like a higher standard, which I think is pretty cool. You know, it’s nice.
Stone Payton: [00:17:41] And strikes me as a great place to to cultivate some new friendships.
Devin Powell: [00:17:45] Too. Yes. Yes. I actually made a lot of great friends. I now have, you know, friends in Germany, South Korea, Washington. And how old are you? 20.
Stone Payton: [00:17:58] 20 years old. And he’s got friends all over the world.
Speaker5: [00:18:00] Yes. So the fact is that you.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:18:02] Have or know somebody there and be like you get 30 days a year for paid leave. So if you know somebody in Germany, be like, Yo, I’m going to hit you up. Like, we can go kick it and like, you know, spangdahlem or, you know, wherever.
Devin Powell: [00:18:15] Yeah, that’s where that’s where he is. Yeah.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:18:17] Yeah. So it just depends on where you want to go because it’s like you go and travel and just you need somebody to it’s easier when you know, somebody like, Hey, meet me at the airport, show me where to go. You already have somebody not I wouldn’t say almost like local because they already know where to go. So. Sure. I mean, why not?
Stone Payton: [00:18:38] Absolutely. All right. So now you’re you’re you’re hanging out with with with Sarge here and you’re learning the recruiting business and all of that. And then in a few weeks, a few months, you’ll go to Tampa. What’s the timeline? Yeah.
Devin Powell: [00:18:51] So I’ll be going down to Tampa in about like a week and a half.
Stone Payton: [00:18:54] Oh, wow.
Devin Powell: [00:18:55] Pretty soon. Yes, sir. Yep. And, um, yeah, I’ll just start my training in processing all that fun stuff and actually get start working on my aircraft. So for my job, you can either be on the flight line or the back shop. So I actually got the back shop, which is called Inspection Dock. So it’s where they do in-depth maintenance on the aircraft. So that’s usually where they’ll take, you know, take a part, you know, really crucial components of the aircraft take apart the whole landing gear, you know, says for damage cracks and look for things like that. So I’m excited.
Stone Payton: [00:19:30] I would be excited, too. Yeah. And you got. To be excited for him. You must just be beaming with pride. Your chest has to be swollen.
Speaker5: [00:19:36] Yeah, like it’s just like when you.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:19:39] Fine, like the person who wants to do these things and create something for themselves and become independent and stuff, but still have that support system. He is going through this every step of the way. It wasn’t all smooth. I mean, you there were some issues at tech school where he learned his job. He had to go to the hospital and get everything squared away. Ouch. Yeah, not too bad. But he was taking care of. Yeah, it.
Speaker5: [00:20:04] Was. It was.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:20:05] But it was just one of those things that at the end of the day, you knew you’re you’re taking care of. And for him, I’m extremely happy for him. I’m extremely happy for the family. They’re so supportive. I can’t like, I’m telling you, I wish there was more family like that.
Stone Payton: [00:20:20] So, yeah, it sounds to me like one of the things that you seem to be very committed to is before you sort of put them through the process officially, you do everything you can to make sure that that this person is ready, that they’re right for this, that they that they’re going in eyes wide open and that they know what to do to prepare properly. The last thing you want to do is just get another check mark right. And then just send another name.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:20:46] Yeah. Like for me, it was like, I am not about that. I try to help every individual out the best way that I can. And the thing is, like like Devin, he’s his own person. He knows what he wants to do. He wants to do those things. His mindset already, like, keep that mindset. I want to be able to for him to be able to cultivate more ideas, to be his individual self, that could potentially change the Air Force for the future. So why not keep that idea and keep that motivation going and then it could be infectious to other people? So if I see that someone’s motivated and he really loves his job, he’s going to affect other people in the Air Force for the greater good.
Speaker5: [00:21:29] Yeah.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:21:29] So a ripple. A ripple effect.
Stone Payton: [00:21:31] Yeah. All right. So my impression is that there’s tremendous growth opportunity in this kind of environment. So if we get two years down the road, five years down the road, Devin swings through town in his new Corvette or whatever. I don’t. Yeah, Or maybe he flies his own little Cessna in because. Yeah, you never know. He’s going to have a higher rank, higher pay, more responsibility. Talk to me a little bit about. Well, and I’ll do it from your perspective at first, like what could that look like? Or have you already been putting a lot of thought into sort of that map?
Devin Powell: [00:22:04] Yeah. So I actually have so it was around like my sophomore year of high school being in JROTC. At that point, I kind of realized, you know, I want to commission as an officer. So once I did research on that, I was like, okay, you know, this is what I want to do. And I know there’s a lot of different routes to commissioning. And, you know, once I realized that, I was like, okay, you know, this is what I want to do. And then, you know, I was like, all right, you know, I’m going to join the Air Force. And then it’s just one step at a time. Um, and it’s been a lot of a lot of growth in the past, like six months since I’ve about, since, since I’ve joined. Um, so yeah.
Speaker5: [00:22:51] Yeah. So, I mean, yeah, overall is just like. He has a goal.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:22:55] Like when I first met him, like he that was his plan to get his college degree because he did a year and some change in college already. So he has those college credits.
Speaker5: [00:23:03] I do so to be able to like, okay.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:23:06] Transfer that, get his bachelor’s degree or first he’ll be getting his CAF, which is Community College of the Air Force, which is associated science like applied science. Yeah. For his particular engineering degree, he will then transfer that to his bachelor’s degree and continue working on whatever he wants to work on. And then that particular bachelor’s degree will translate to becoming an officer for the United States Air Force. Because at that point, like I said, Devin’s a very motivated guy and, you know, he’s doing this. He’s going to becoming an officer and understanding what enlisted issues are. So him himself, by being a great follower, he will be a great leader in the future as well. And I’ll salute him as soon as he becomes an officer.
Stone Payton: [00:23:47] Is that how that works?
Speaker5: [00:23:48] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. I’ll render him a salute for sure.
Stone Payton: [00:23:52] I’ll be doing all right. So it seems like there’s this major point in the timeline when you when you have that that first thing under your belt and now you’re going to it applies to the to the BS, the Bachelor, the bachelor’s degree. And then if you want to, you can you’ve got some broader choices about where to take that field of interest.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:24:13] Yeah, it just depends on what he wants to do later on in life. And then like like I said, all this is paid for. Like, none of this is coming out of his pocket.
Speaker5: [00:24:21] Yes.
Devin Powell: [00:24:21] Yeah, yeah, that’s the that’s the best part. Because I did, you know, even though I was in college for a short amount of time, I did rack up some, you know, student loans. So, you know, I’m so grateful now that I’m in and I joined when I did, it was definitely better that I joined sooner rather than later because, you know, now moving forward, I can take my college classes and I’m not going to have to worry about, you know, racking up any more debt or anything like that.
Stone Payton: [00:24:50] And you are already getting a paycheck or you’re going to get a paycheck soon. Yes. So take it from two old men here. I’m sorry you got a little bit of debt, but take it from two old men going forward, pay cash and only cry once, right? Isn’t that our cash?
Speaker5: [00:25:04] Yeah. I mean, like, it’s.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:25:06] It’s good because you’re like, okay, financially, how do I do this?
Speaker5: [00:25:10] Or. Yeah. To be able to do everything or so.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:25:12] Many to.
Speaker5: [00:25:13] Focus on.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:25:13] So many different avenues of your job, college, social life and stuff like.
Speaker5: [00:25:18] That. Like you said, he, he has the support and then the.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:25:24] To be able to understand where he can go in that avenue to where if he needed help, he knows who he can go to. Like I said, there’s different agencies and stuff on base to make sure. And there’s people that have been in been doing the job longer than him. So there’s always going to be that sense.
Speaker5: [00:25:40] Of.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:25:41] Experience around him. So he’s always going to be taken care.
Speaker5: [00:25:44] Of, at least in the.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:25:45] Workforce. And then he has family in Florida, too. So it’s it’s going to be.
Speaker5: [00:25:49] Great for him.
Stone Payton: [00:25:50] Man The world is your oyster.
Devin Powell: [00:25:52] Devin Yeah, I’m really blessed and I’m happy. Happy.
Stone Payton: [00:25:56] Well, you brought up an interesting point a little while ago, Raymond, because he has lived it or will have lived it. Just how much better of a leader he must he’s going to be because he’s coming from that perspective as opposed to maybe someone who’s never been through those ranks, right? Yeah.
Speaker5: [00:26:13] Because at that point, like, just like.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:26:15] Any business you want to hire.
Speaker5: [00:26:18] Within, right.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:26:19] Right. So you want to promote.
Speaker5: [00:26:20] The people inside. So the fact is that Devin has this idea to where he is going.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:26:27] Enlisted, and then he wants to become an.
Speaker5: [00:26:28] Officer.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:26:29] And then at that point, when he’s leading the people, he’s going to be in charge of the people overall. He’s going to understand their problems, their issues, because he recently just did it.
Speaker5: [00:26:40] Right. Right.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:26:40] So to be able to understand to be that middle man or like, hey, you need to do this or like, hey, we need to advocate more money because he wasn’t able to do that. Understanding the little guy.
Speaker5: [00:26:51] At the end of the day because.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:26:52] Of that person, like he will be in a humble position to where like, okay, I remember when I was struggling.
Speaker5: [00:26:57] In that position, I needed help.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:27:00] Let’s say that he does get the help. It’s not, you know, not saying that he doesn’t now, but by becoming an officer, you understand those little.
Speaker5: [00:27:09] Things that.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:27:10] Enlisted versus officer to different problems.
Speaker5: [00:27:13] So I would say.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:27:14] Because enlisted side you’re you know your your foot soldier in a sense of like okay, we got to, you know, knock this out as an officer, you’re kind of more of a automatically that manager role based on the college degree. But if you come in and you’re like, hey, we need to do this, and then like, okay, let’s well, let’s role play it in a way. So let’s say I’m the officer and I come in and Devin’s working, I’m like, Hey, you shouldn’t be doing that because X, Y, and Z. He’s been working there a while and he understands, like based on his technical order, he needs to do it like this. And I don’t fully understand. Me being an officer, I need to take a step back and really learn those little things that maybe that the enlisted person understands more because they’re more involved with the day to day activities than what the officer would be.
Stone Payton: [00:28:02] So, no, that’s an important lesson, right? Yeah. My brother is a CEO. He’s a chief executive officer of the Florida Homebuilders Association. He’s out of Tallahassee. But he mentioned to me when he was second guy for another association, but now he’s he’s the CEO of this thing. And he told me like six months into that job, he says, Stone, I got to be really careful about what I say. He says, because when I say stuff, it gets done. And so I have to be very measured and really think about what comes out of my mouth because people turn to and get it done. It’s a whole different world when you make that transition.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:28:39] Yeah, it really is. And the fact is that understanding those little things and the thing is like, right, coming with that experience that he or like Devin will have.
Speaker5: [00:28:48] Is right, right?
Raymond Aguilar : [00:28:49] It’s, you know, it’s definitely beneficial for not just.
Speaker5: [00:28:52] Himself but the people around him. So, you.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:28:54] Know, helping out your, your, your fellow coworkers, your peers and stuff like that and just overall increase increasing productivity altogether.
Stone Payton: [00:29:04] All right. So let’s back up a little bit. Let’s create an environment where a young person is thinking about joining the Air Force and they’re coming to you and they’re asking your input and your advice. I’m sure you’ll share some of these great positive aspects that we’ve been talking about today. What are some potential challenges that you might tell them to anticipate or be on the lookout for? You know, because it can’t be all butterflies in unicorns. Unicorns, right. There’s like, what are some things to yeah. On that side of things.
Devin Powell: [00:29:35] So I’d say some of the biggest challenges, if I’m being honest, would be just people. Because, you know, when I got to basic training, you know, that first night I got into my dorm. By the time we finished all the paperwork, it was it was like one 2:00 in the morning, all 5052 of us, you know, we’re all tired, but we all come from different places. So I’d say the biggest challenge is learning how to work, work together with people and, you know, how to understand people and overcome differences without, you know, getting, you know, you know, staying professional at the same time. Because there were a few moments during those first two weeks, you know, our whole dorm, we were kind of like at each other’s throats because, you know, everybody was trying to take control and.
Speaker5: [00:30:29] Some basic training.
Devin Powell: [00:30:30] Yeah, yeah, basic training. You know, everybody’s trying to do their own thing. But, you know, eventually, you know, people will come together. And I’ll say that would be one of the biggest challenges. And to not take things so personal, you know, to let things let things go, you know, because at the end of the day, people are just going to say whatever they want and then they’re going to go on with their day. So you don’t want to like take that, you know, to heart because at the end of the day, they may say that and just walk off and like, they’re not even going to think about it anymore. So like, you don’t want.
Stone Payton: [00:31:03] To let them live in your head, right? Yeah.
Speaker5: [00:31:04] Yeah.
Devin Powell: [00:31:05] Rent free. Yeah. Yeah. You don’t. Yeah, you don’t want to do that. So what.
Speaker5: [00:31:09] Was it?
Raymond Aguilar : [00:31:09] Did you get any leadership positions while you were at basic training?
Devin Powell: [00:31:13] Yeah, So I was actually the the guidon bearer for our flight, so I was in charge of our our staff that had our flight number on it. And that’s a it’s a pretty tough position, if I’m being honest. I only I was able to excel at it and pick up the position so fast because of my JROTC experience in high school. So it made that transition a lot easier, especially when it came to drill. But even then, you know, there was still it was a pretty demanding position because you’re my MTI, which stands for the military training instructor. You know, he was always, you know, he would call my name out and be like, you know, Powell, you know, make sure you’re over here. You’re doing this. Where are you at? You know, and he will call me out. You know, I would make mistakes. And he was quick to call me out on my mistakes. But at the same time, too, you know, when I did do something right, he was also quick to, you know, say good job. Yeah.
Speaker5: [00:32:08] Because it’s not.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:32:09] Always about the the mistakes that you made, but it’s also the lessons that I learned. So that’s always.
Speaker5: [00:32:15] Good.
Stone Payton: [00:32:15] And when you’re leading, I suspect in that environment and certainly been my experience, you know, if someone on the team makes a mistake, it’s also your mistake. And then you got to figure out how to how to navigate that and make sure you return that learning to the organization. And it’s a yeah, there’s a lot to it, isn’t there, even at that level.
Devin Powell: [00:32:34] Yeah, there was a there was a lot of accountability that that sense of really learning what a team is and holding everyone accountable because we actually had our dorm instructor, he told us because somebody didn’t lock their their wall. And, you know, every time you leave your area, it’s basically you can go pretty far. But the rule that we came up with is, you know, if you can’t reach your bed, your wall locker needs to be locked. So if you’re out of that distance, you need to keep it locked. And basically there was this person that, you know, had left it unlocked and he had got disciplinary action for it. But then he said if it happened again, then he would get recycled at that point, which would mean being recycled means you go back two weeks in training. Ouch. Yeah. So and he said if and he also made it a point to everybody else saying that if we see his locker unlocked and don’t tell him anything, then everybody’s going to suffer as well. So, you know, that really kicked in. And then once we all heard that, we all, you know, started double checking, you know, helping each other out, making sure that we all, you know, graduate together. We got there together. We lost two people. But, you know, I don’t think I’m not really sure what their whole situation was. But for the most part, we all want to stick together because we got there at the same time and we want to graduate.
Speaker5: [00:33:54] Definitely that.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:33:54] Teamwork.
Speaker5: [00:33:55] Mindset because we’re.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:33:56] Like he was talking about earlier, like some people.
Speaker5: [00:33:59] Are, you know, from all over.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:34:00] The world.
Speaker5: [00:34:01] Some people are very introverted, some people are extroverted. And the.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:34:05] Thing is, some people may not have been on, you know.
Speaker5: [00:34:08] Sports teams or, you know.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:34:10] Jrotc and understand.
Speaker5: [00:34:12] The leadership or the.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:34:14] Attention to detail where you may need.
Speaker5: [00:34:17] And it’s just that teamwork mindset.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:34:20] It helps everyone out and then it makes life a little bit easier. But the main thing is the MTI or the military.
Speaker5: [00:34:27] Training instructor is.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:34:29] You know, trying to make sure they are working together at the end of the day. So small details like locking his locker is making sure that it’s not just locking your locker. It’s also like the accountability portion, but it’s making sure like, okay, this making sure our locker is locked later down the road, you’re going to make sure our attention to detail on little things where when he gets to his job when he’s responsible for multi-million dollar assets, he knows the attention to detail is key.
Stone Payton: [00:34:56] Well, and I hate it for those two that didn’t make it. But by the same point, in order for the unit to have pride, you know, once you know what the standard is, if you don’t if you can’t meet that standard, I mean, you can’t let you can’t let that slide. Right? You’ve got to enforce the standard.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:35:13] Yeah, you definitely do. But I mean, Devin, I mean, speak on this like zero week, like your first week, like understanding the structure. And I’m sure when you pull up, I mean, just tell, tell.
Speaker5: [00:35:25] Tell us your story.
Devin Powell: [00:35:26] So zero week, so zero week. It’s probably, I would say probably the hardest week out of your whole military career for really any branch because, you know, you have all these people and you’re coming in as just, you know, a regular person and you have to learn so much during that zero week. So you have to understand, you know, who’s in charge, you know, that respect factor and, you know, all these things that, you know, right off the jump, they’re automatically they automatically have high standards for you, even though you’re just a trainee. You know, they have all these, you know, high standards. It’s really chaotic. I don’t really remember much except.
Speaker5: [00:36:06] Yeah, I get the same thing.
Devin Powell: [00:36:08] Yeah, I don’t really remember much besides waiting. There was a lot of standing at attention and just being quiet while, you know, our instructors were planning things or doing things like that. But, you know, and that’s. Yeah, I guess that’s where some of the discipline is as well, because, you know, I think the reason everybody was able to be so quiet is because we were all kind of scared. You know, nobody wanted to like because.
Speaker5: [00:36:35] You’re almost in shock.
Devin Powell: [00:36:37] Yeah, it was really like a wake up call because when you get there, you know, you know, we left the airport and we hopped on the bus and our bus driver, he was like hyping it up. He was like, oh, it’s you know, he was really cool guy. And we were all, you know, we were all pumped. We were all excited, you know, cheering and stuff on the bus. And then, you know, we get off the bus and we’re in the reception room. You know, it’s pretty chill so far. You know, not too much has happened. And then we go outside and we’re sitting down and we’re waiting for our instructors. And I’m over here. We’re all just chatting because we’re like, man, where are where are these? Where are our instructors coming from? And next thing you know, like I remember seeing off in the distance, I just see dark shadows just walking towards me and I see the hat and I’m like, Oh man. I was like, I think he’s going to get serious. Yeah. And then immediately they just started yelling and they’re like, All right, we’re doing Roll Call. And then they just started going down the list yelling each name. And yeah, ever since that day, you immediately learned who your mtis were.
Speaker5: [00:37:33] It’s like you remember your that silhouette, that moment. You see them just coming out of the woodwork and be like, All right, it’s time to work.
Devin Powell: [00:37:40] Yeah, That’s when I knew. I was like, Man, you know, this is really. This is really happening. Yeah. Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:37:47] It sounds like all of this is none of this is left to chance. This is all very much by design. I mean, the military, the Air Force, these guys know exactly what they’re doing. They have plenty of structure, right?
Speaker5: [00:37:57] Yes. The military instructors are very, very I mean.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:01] The training that they get, it’s more psychology work to make sure that.
Speaker5: [00:38:05] Where you’re going from someone who has never had structure in.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:09] Their life and tried to understand.
Speaker5: [00:38:11] The little things and why do the little things matter, you know, to detail, to, you know, making.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:17] Your bed.
Speaker5: [00:38:17] Some people have. They don’t make their bed. Yeah, yeah.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:21] And you want to make sure like even like little things now.
Speaker5: [00:38:24] Like so if.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:26] You made your bed and you’re like, oh I didn’t make that good enough. And then someone else sees it, like if like your family or whatever, seeing it and graduation, you’re like, That’s.
Speaker5: [00:38:34] A good looking.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:34] Bed. But you could be like, I remember when I graduated.
Speaker5: [00:38:37] I didn’t have I almost had like a little smile at the end.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:42] Watch. The smile is like at the edge of the bed. When you tuck everything in and you’re good. You want to make sure everything’s tight and there’s straight line and you don’t want no slack. I could see like.
Speaker5: [00:38:50] A little dip and I’m like, Oh man, I messed that up.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:38:53] And then my family, they were like, Oh, everything looks great. Oh, my God. And I’m like, I messed up. But you don’t see that. But it’s like those little things you just.
Speaker5: [00:39:03] Notice right away. After a while. It’s just like I said.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:39:07] The little things.
Stone Payton: [00:39:08] So now that you have this appreciation for the little things, you have these aspirations to to lead others, do you find yourself outside the scope of the technical training and that kind of thing? Do you find yourself studying, reading stuff about leadership or personal accountability? And if so, like what some of the the stuff that you’re reading now or I’ve read recently that you might recommend to some folks.
Devin Powell: [00:39:34] Yeah. So I did, you know, I started reading a little bit before basic training, but there was I forgot the name of a book, but it was basically saying how you, how you act, basically how you act is what what you’re going to attract. So if you’re always, you know, I guess have a negative outlook on life, you’re going to attract, you know, negative people and negative outcomes versus, you know, having more of an optimistic outlook and, you know, be willing to learn and, you know, just be really open minded to change. Being open minded to change is a is a big one.
Stone Payton: [00:40:15] Oh, yeah. Because I certainly think so.
Speaker5: [00:40:17] Yeah. Because you to think.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:40:18] Not a lot of people manage stress the same way and then change alone in the military is.
Speaker5: [00:40:25] Happens a.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:40:26] Lot. So the thing is being able to be flexible understanding the bigger picture and stuff like that. And the funny that you mentioned like books and.
Speaker5: [00:40:34] Reading, because I just read a book called Who Moved.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:40:37] My Cheese? You ever heard of that?
Stone Payton: [00:40:38] I have heard of it, and I feel like I’ve read some version of it, some years back.
Speaker5: [00:40:43] Yeah. My office partner.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:40:46] He handed me this book just based on.
Speaker5: [00:40:50] You know, change or whatever, because I.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:40:51] Joked around like, ah, I don’t like change.
Speaker5: [00:40:53] Whatever. Just joking.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:40:54] He goes, Read this book and it’s a small story. It’s like 100 pages. So nothing crazy. It’s like an hour.
Speaker5: [00:41:00] Hour read.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:41:01] Like some people will read it like I read it. Me and my daughter read it before we went to bed. So it was like, okay, I’ll read you the story.
Speaker5: [00:41:06] And she enjoyed it.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:41:08] It’s just simply understanding, like. Things are going to happen, you see change occurring. How do you.
Speaker5: [00:41:14] You know, adapt to it. And some people are just afraid to.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:41:18] Be outside their comfort zone, reaching out and doing something. And this book, I was like, I was talking to my daughter. She’s ten, right? She was like, this is a good book for military children. And I’m like. Where do you get this knowledge from? I mean.
Speaker5: [00:41:33] It’s just one of those.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:41:34] Things like she is thinking about those things.
Speaker5: [00:41:35] Right? It’s just.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:41:36] Like being.
Speaker5: [00:41:37] Exposed to change and stuff. That book is I.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:41:40] Definitely recommend for anyone that’s even if they’re not having a rough time or if they’re see the change just going through life. I’m happy for my office partner to be able to, hey, read this book. So I’m like.
Speaker5: [00:41:52] Yeah, so.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:41:53] Who moved my cheese?
Stone Payton: [00:41:55] All right, well, there you have a recommendation and you have, again, two old guys telling you read, read and read and you know, and take what you can from it and on something like that that is timeless. And as classic as that piece is, and there are other books that I would characterize that way. I would say reread them, right? Like go back and read because you’ll you’ll pick up stuff, won’t you?
Speaker5: [00:42:15] Raymond Yeah.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:42:16] When I whenever I was talking to my, my office partner, his name is Sergeant Frederick. He’s at Marietta office as well. I was just saying like, man, this book was pretty good. I was explaining this stuff like I could see like key parts in here in the book. And he was saying that he reads it multiple times throughout because he says, you never know what you know stage in your life that you’re going through. You always interpret it differently.
Speaker5: [00:42:41] Because of what’s going on or certain events in.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:42:44] Your life that could help you.
Speaker5: [00:42:46] Or help others in the long run, right?
Stone Payton: [00:42:48] Yeah, man, you made me. I’m too old now. I think I can do 20 push ups. There you go. But you guys are making me want to join the military. Yeah, they got. They got any radio jobs in the military? There’s some.
Speaker5: [00:43:00] Broadcasting stuff. Yeah, Yeah. Bronchi.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:43:04] Broadcasting and journalism and stuff like that. Yeah. Yeah. You sound pretty. You sound pretty good on radio. You sound like you got some good experience, man.
Stone Payton: [00:43:11] Yeah, they probably wouldn’t let me go home at two and take a nap, though, which is what I plan to do today.
Devin Powell: [00:43:16] Probably not.
Stone Payton: [00:43:17] I’m definitely not as entertaining as the Robin Williams character in that in that movie.
Speaker5: [00:43:22] Oh, yeah. Good morning, Vietnam.
Stone Payton: [00:43:24] Yeah, that was funny. Well, this has been a lot of fun. Devin, thanks for hanging out with us and sharing your experience. Man, this is and oh, gosh, Sergeant Raymond, you must really love your work.
Speaker5: [00:43:36] I really do, man. Like, I.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:43:39] Like I said, like, my story is just.
Speaker5: [00:43:41] More of.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:43:42] What my sister. Was not able to accomplish. And joining in like like I said, she passed away and stuff when she was trying.
Speaker5: [00:43:51] To that whole aspect.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:43:53] But she wanted to join. She was not able to join. She couldn’t find a recruiter to help her out. So that’s always my mindset. I’m like, I want it to be the recruiter that my sister needed. So for me, I never know what.
Speaker5: [00:44:06] The.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:44:06] Applicants truly are going through until I get to know them.
Speaker5: [00:44:10] My job is to get to know my.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:44:12] Applicants, what their goals are, things like that. So for me, if I’m changing or helping someone better their lives for the future, who’s, you know, what ripple effect that would make for me, that’s a.
Speaker5: [00:44:24] Bigger reward than anything. Yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:44:27] All right. Let’s leave our listeners with some contact info for for you. And they can and they can also all be thinking about Devon and wishing him the the best. We’ll try to keep up with his story, but what’s the best way for folks to to connect with you? Oh, so.
Raymond Aguilar : [00:44:39] For me, if people just want to know general information about the United States Air Force, simply just ask the questions of like, you know, what does it take? Or, you know, simple information. You can contact me at (770) 274-8087. That’s my cell. You can either call or text. Email is Raymond Ray Monde, Aguilar firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stone Payton: [00:45:08] Well, Raymond, keep up the good work, man. The work you’re doing is so important. You see the impact. You mentioned ripple effect earlier in the conversation. You see the impact you have on this one individual, and Lord only knows how that’s going to continue to multiply as as Devon grows in his sky’s the limit. Sky’s the limit, man. I think it’s fantastic. And Devon, best of luck, man. You don’t need any luck, but just know that we’re all pulling for you, man. And I hope we hear back from you again when you swing back through town. Maybe you’ll come join us. But it’s been a real pleasure having you on the show.
Devin Powell: [00:45:41] Yes, thank you for having me.
Stone Payton: [00:45:43] My pleasure. All right. Until next time, this is Stone Payton for our guest today, Devon Powell and Raymond Aguilar and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you next time on Cherokee Business Radio.