Indiana Airman proud of her American Indian roots

American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month is a special time for U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Crystal N. Ralston
Photo credit DoD
By Connecting Vets

HULMAN FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ind.- American Indian Heritage Month, celebrated in November, is a special time for U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Crystal N. Ralston.

"Observing American Indian Heritage means to take pride in my roots so that I can better understand and learn about my heritage," said Ralston. "I have a son who I want to be able to teach about our ancestry, so this month is a good opportunity to learn and reflect."

Ralston comes from a long line of American Indian family.

"My bloodline is Cherokee and Apache on my mother's side and Paiute Indian on my father's side," said Ralston. "As Native Americans continue to remain a minority, it is important that my son understands our history."

Ralston joined the Indiana Air National Guard in 2008 after spending three years in the Missouri Army National Guard.

"My interest in the Air Guard eventually led me to request a transfer out of the Army Guard and to Indiana, where I re-enlisted with the 122nd Fighter Wing as a services troop," said Ralston.

After serving with the 122nd FW, Ralston transferred to the 181st Intelligence Wing, Hulman Field Air National Guard Base. On drill weekends, she serves as a dining facility manager for the 181st Force Support Squadron services flight.

"Traditionally, I am the DFAC manager for our services flight," said Ralston. "My full-time position is the command support staff for Joint Force Headquarters supporting the command staff and the assistant adjutant general."

While serving at JFHQ, Ralston has learned more about herself.

"The things I've learned about myself, the mission, and the kind of leader I want to be has been astounding," said Ralston. "I know that I will take that experience back to the wing and advocate for, guide, and support our upcoming Airmen."