934th Airlift Wing Airman loves a challenge

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  • 934th Airlift Wing

Coming from a family of Air Force veterans, Senior Airman Taylor Sturgell knew early on she was interested in joining the Air Force. Her mother retired from the 934th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, and Sturgell was interested in medicine herself. “I could have joined the ASTS. It was familiar,” Sturgell says, “but why not challenge myself and do something outside of my comfort zone?”

In 2020, Sturgell joined the 934th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron. Her experience in basic military training and tech school is intertwined with the COVID-19 pandemic, as was her initial experience at the 934 AES. A key thing she enjoys now is the fact that the unit can more freely operate in person.

During Winged Serpent, Sturgell marveled at the interactions within the team. “It’s amazing to see how we are able to mesh together as a team. These flights really allow us to build a better face-to-face bond,” said Sturgell. “We are able to create strong relationships that make a real difference when we are doing our job.”

Winged Serpent was a three-day exercise testing the interoperability of international joint forces. Working with Canadian partners, the 934 AES coordinated patient care, evacuation, and transportation. It was a chance for the unit to put what they have learned into practice in an unfamiliar environment.

For this exercise, Sturgell was assigned to an instructor. Senior Master Sgt. Zac Johnson, a flight instructor with the 934 AES, was responsible for training Sturgell one-on-one during the exercise. “This is her fourth flight since she joined the unit,” Johnson said of Sturgell. “And we expect to see growth flight-over-flight as the Airmen learn and put their knowledge into action. But this weekend was that growth was exponential; her performance, confidence, and presence all improved a lot.”

Sturgell said Johnson was incredibly helpful to her.

“Having an experienced flyer by my side was very beneficial for me. It was great to be able to pick his brain and get immediate feedback on what we were doing. He helped me become a better flyer and a better student.”

Outside of her work at the 934 AES, Sturgell is a patient care coordinator in her civilian life. She is planning to attend nursing school with an eye toward becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN). With that, she sees herself continuing to serve with the unit.

“I love the culture, the people, and the morale here. I’m always excited to be here,” Sturgell said. “And that’s a good feeling.”