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NEWS | Dec. 14, 2023

Oregon Airman Shares His Journey to Success

By Airman 1st Class Yuki Klein, 142nd Wing

PORTLAND AIR GUARD STATION, Ore. –  Shining a light on the diverse paths to happiness and success, it’s evident that college is not the route to professional success for Airman 1st Class Stephen Warren. 

Warren, a firefighter in the 142nd Wing Civil Engineering Squadron, recognized this fact while still in high school. 
He explained that the conventional college route didn’t align with his future aspirations.

“I wanted to do something more hands-on. Something that would give me life experience and did not require me to be in an office all day” said Warren. 

Joining the Air National Guard allowed him to work in a physically active role and acquire a tactical skill set. 

The Air National Guard was an excellent option for Warren because it offered opportunities for career growth but also presented experiences like his first Temporary Duty Assignment (TDY) in Jacksonville, Arkansas. 

Though it was initially hard to integrate himself into the close-knit fire station, working with these people became his fondest memory of the mission. 

“You have to prove that you can do the job because they have to trust you with their life when you go into a fire,” said Warren. “The rewarding part of the TDY was how much experience I gained through such a short time and the amount that those guys poured into me with me not even being gained by their unit.”

One of Warren’s most memorable TDY experiences was volunteering to relieve natural disasters. He witnessed the remarkable professionalism and efficiency of the crew in the face of adversity. 

“There was a lot of adrenaline running, and then when I was selected to go out on one of the engines, blood started pumping, and I started thinking about all the things that needed to happen when we got out there,” said Warren. “Seeing the damage that the tornado caused was pretty gnarly, and it was really impressive watching the rest of the crew handle it so professionally and calmly.”

In addition to his military service, Warren is pursuing an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and participates in training that assists his journey as a firefighter during off-duty hours. 

While continuing as a firefighter for the Oregon Air National Guard, he would also like to pursue a career in firefighting on the civilian side. 

“My longtime goal is to be a firefighter here in the local Portland metro area,” added Warren.

When Warren is not wearing the uniform, he is heavily involved in his local church community as a youth staff member. Drawing from his experience with mentors during high school, he is committed to providing guidance and support to the next generation.

Warren’s journey reflects a different avenue for personal and professional growth outside a traditional academic education. His dedication to service, continuous learning, and community involvement showcases that success is not confined to a classroom but can be found in diverse landscapes of passion and purpose.



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