Build Your Legacy: Trainee Sophia Capdepon

  • Published
  • By 307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
  • 307th Bomb Wing

This is the third installment in the Build Your Legacy series where we sit down with recruits who have enlisted to find out who and what influenced them to join the Air Force Reserves. The series is designed to help those currently serving and veterans to better understand what potential recruits want to know about life in the Air Force Reserve.

It’s hard to hold back Sophia Capdepon. The, Washington native excelled in high school and graduated with an associate degree. After high school, her independent spirit drew her to Texas, where she became an Emergency Medical Technician. However, she grew restless in the Lone Star state and began searching for a new adventure. A fellow EMT, retired Air Force Reservist Joe Hodges, told her about the Air Force Reserve. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Capdepon is scheduled to leave for Air Force Basic Military Training this November and is looking forward to starting her military career with the 307th Civil Engineer Squadron. But before leaving, Capdepon took time to tell us about her adventure and the impact Hodges had on her decision to enlist.

Q: Who inspired you to join the military?

A. My grandfather was drafted in Vietnam and my sister volunteered to serve in the Army. She did it so she could get ahead in life. Her strength and her courage are still inspiring to me and I aspire to be like her every day.

Joe Hodges, a fellow EMT, also influenced my decision. He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Master Sgt. and was a firefighter in a civil engineer squadron. He spoke about the camaraderie, and the brotherhood and the travel. It was amazing how he was able to build so many relationships with the people he served with. And I think relationships like that are an important part of life.

Q: What did he tell you that influenced you to see a recruiter?

A. I initially went to see an active-duty recruiter, but I was worried about giving up my independence. I’d worked hard for that since I was 17 and didn’t want to give it up. But Joe told me about the Air Force Reserve and how you could maintain your civilian life and have a military one as well. He told me all about the service commitments, the camaraderie, and the connections. He also told me I could train to get a whole new skillset different from my civilian job while ….. serving in something that was bigger than myself.

Q. So you were influenced more by the opportunities to gain experience than you were by the benefits?

A. Absolutely! You can make a lot of money and have a successful career, but it doesn’t mean as much as making connections with other people. I also wanted the experience of discipline, hard work, and camaraderie you don’t necessarily get in the outside world.

Of course the health and education benefits are amazing, but sometimes you can find that in other areas of life. But there’s something in the military you can’t find anywhere else and that’s a sense of family and the connections you build with other people.

Q: Was there any other helpful advice you received?

A. Yes, Joe told me not to go in as a medic. A normal thing you hear about in emergency medical services is “I’m so burnt out.” It’s exhausting emotionally and physically. So, I didn’t want to go in and do the same thing on the weekend that I did all week.

I wanted to switch things up a little bit ….. and get a new skill in case there was ever a time when I don’t want to do this (EMT) anymore.

Q: What advice would you give to a veteran regarding telling their story to potential recruits?

A. I’d say not (to) focus on just the benefits. Yes, it will give (you) life insurance. Yes, it will give you health insurance. Yes, it will help you support your family. Those are all amazing things.

But for me, it was the personal experiences. I remember Joe talking about serving with his fellow Airmen and enjoying their company even though it was some of the harshest conditions they had ever been in.

Also, I was influence by the experience .… and the discipline you won’t get anywhere else.