Veteran reflects on his military career, plans future

Shanice Davis, Features Editor


Born into an army family and raised on values of patriotism, Aquila Hairston continued on the path his father so proudly paved when he decided to join the army.

Hailing from a military background, Hairston said that his father heavily impacted his decision on joining the United States Army in October 2011 at the age of 19.

“My biggest influence for going into the military was my father because he did 24 years in the army and he really loved the experience, the camaraderie and the teamwork. So I thought it would be a good place to start off my adult career by getting discipline and good job training,” said Hairston.

After his four-year commitment, Hairston found himself enjoying the military so much that he opted to extend his Expiration Term of Service (ETS) in October 2015 as an E-4 specialist so that he could have the door open to possibly serve again while simultaneously being able to pursue his education.

“I’m in the inactive reserves, so I’m in, but not really in. I’m out, but in case a war breaks out, they could call me back, because technically my term was for four years active and four years in either the active reserves or the National Guard.

“I mainly wanted to focus on school when I got out, but if I so happen to miss it that much, I could still do it part-time,” Hairston said.

During his time as active duty, Hairston was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas and went on a seven-month deployment to Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

It was during this time that Hairston learned to appreciate the little things in life. He remembers that there was a restroom down the road from his squadron’s actual site and compared this to waking up in the middle of the night and having a restroom readily available.

“The deployment to Afghanistan made me a lot more grateful for what I have here in the states. When you’re over there, a lot of things you don’t have or things that are easily accessible here [in the states] just makes you more grateful when you’re back here and you can get those things easily.”

Hairston is a business administration major in his first semester and expects to graduate in 2019.

In the future, he plans to follow his father’s footsteps again by getting a job in the same field.

“I want a secure job like my father. He is a business administrative manager. He works on Camp Pendleton for environmental security,” said Hairston. “Or I’d like something in the field as a financial advisor or an accountant.”

As for his ultimate end goal, Hairston is content with retiring from a successful career in a home off the beach in his hometown of Oceanside with a big family.