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Airman Insight: Senior Airman Jake Brader

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tony Harp
  • 193rd Special Operations Wing

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Senior Airman Jake Brader, a Traffic Management Office specialist with the 193rd Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron, has served three years in the Pennsylvania National Guard.

During his time in the military, Brader has proved to be a valuable asset to the TMO team and the 193rd SOLRS as a whole.

“Senior Airman Brader is the quintessential prototype for what we all want our Airmen to be; adaptable, integral, confident and self-motivated,” said Tech. Sgt. Justin George, distribution manager with the 193rd SOLRS. “He is the type of Airman you provide a task to and walk away knowing it is in capable and technically savvy hands. The reason you recognize an Airman like him is because you hope his values which exceed our core values rub off on those around him. Ultimately, the team benefits from sharing in those values by emulating his standards and reinforcing them long term.”

Brader is currently working full-time here, and finished his first year of college at Kutztown University.

The Fleetwood native recently sat down for a conversation about his experience in the military, his interests in history and historical re-enacting, and a few other topics. 

What brought you into the military?

To be honest with you, I don’t really know. I guess reading history books and stuff I just got an interest in it. Since I was in kindergarten, I was like, yeah I’m going to be in the Air Force one day.

What has kept you in the military?

I get a drive out of doing it, being here. I get this motivation, this drive from putting on the uniform every day.

Have you ever had a failure or a setback that either directly set you up for success or provided you with a lesson learned that indirectly set you up for success later?

Any small failures I’ve had, even if I screw something up that’s minor, a lot of people don’t find it to be a big deal, but I’m really hard on myself for that type of thing. Little things like that have helped me grow to be bigger and better.

The military can be very stressful at times. When things start to get overwhelming, do you have a routine or a way to help refresh your mind and get refocused?

I just do it. I can get stressed at times, but I don’t necessarily have a coping method or anything, I just do it. Keep my mind on track kind of thing.

What types of things are you doing now to keep your morale and resiliency up, during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For my house, just to stay busy, I repainted my house, stuff like that. As far as fitness and things like that go, just because gyms are closed it doesn’t mean you can’t go outside and run, or do push-ups and sit-ups. So I still always maintain fitness.

What keeps you motivated/focused?

Just putting on the uniform. Looking down and seeing my name next to U.S. Air Force, that alone keeps me motivated.

How do you stay productive?

Even if I don’t have something to do, I find something. Even something as small as sweeping, or cleaning the bathrooms or something. Little things like that add up in the long run.

What advice would you give to a young Airman that is just joining the military or looking to progress their career?

Maintain the traditional military values you are taught in Basic Training. I notice a lot of people tend to lose that, and I don’t know if they realize the importance of it.

What advice would you tell them to ignore?

Rank does not mean knowledge.

Do you have an internal code or mantra you live your life by?

Not really, just stay true to yourself.

Is there a book that has influenced you that you would recommend? Why?

There’s a book, I forget who the author is, it’s a non-fictional book, it’s called “Into the Wild” [by Jon Krakauer]. They did a movie about it. It’s about a man named Christopher McCandless and basically what he did, was he burned his social security card, all his money, and just left. He went out on an adventure and he did what he wanted to do regardless. He died the way he wanted to, he did what he wanted to do regardless, he didn’t necessarily abide to what people wanted him to be.

Do you have any obscure/unusual interests or hobbies?

I’m a re-enactor. I re-enact World War I, World War II and Vietnam. Wherever there is an event. I love educating the public on stuff that you don’t necessarily learn about in school. I’ve been doing it since I was 12. I went to World War II weekend in Reading and I was like, I want to do this. I didn’t know something like that existed. I went to that when I was 10 or 11 and since then I’ve just been into it. Especially since for me since loving history since I was a little kid, it exploded more.

In the past five years, is there something that you changed your mind/opinion about? Did it make you implement a change in your lifestyle, if so, how?

I used to be more of a political person, I guess you could say. Not going to protests, but just really involved with it. And I guess just joining the military and respecting everyone else’s opinions and things, I think that overall changed my attitude towards things.

What fictional character do you resonate the most with? Heroic or non-heroic?

I don’t really watch a lot of TV, so this one was a hard one…

We changed the question to “Historical character”. 

Probably James Dean, out of all people. Just because he’s his own thing, he doesn’t listen to what anybody else tells him to do. He’s not abiding to social standards, he does what he feels is right. I don’t necessarily abide by the social standard I just do what I like and if anybody else has issues with that, then that’s their problem not mine

Do you have any random knowledge to part with?

In World War I, the numbers tripled with how many people joined the military. So it just goes to show how patriotic we were compared to what we are now.