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Paving the way: Air Force daughter looks back at family legacy of service

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Riley Fulton, a 509th Healthcare Operation Squadron medical logistics technician, right, and Amy Sobel, Fulton’s mother, left, stand for their official U.S. Air Force photo. (Courtesy Photo)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Riley Fulton, a 509th Healthcare Operation Squadron medical logistics technician, right, and Amy Sobel, Fulton’s mother, left, stand for their official U.S. Air Force photo. (Courtesy Photo)

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --

“I am faithful to a proud heritage, a tradition of honor, and a legacy of valor.”

When reciting this part of the Airmen’s creed, many Airmen may think about the legacy and traditions of the Air Force.

For one Airman, these words have an even deeper meaning.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Riley Fulton, a 509th Healthcare Operation Squadron medical logistics technician, comes from an Air Force family; her mother, father and stepfather served in the Air Force. Three years ago she made the decision to follow in her family’s footsteps.

“I always wanted to be in the Air Force, so I joined out of high school and waited a year for my medical job,” Fulton said. “I wanted to carry on my family’s legacy of being an Airman.”

Amy Sobel, Fulton’s mother, retired as a security forces flight chief after 23 years of service. Sobel came from a military family and said she joined the Air Force to serve her country and see the world.

“One of the best memories of my mom in the Air Force was going with her to work at the firing range.” Fulton said. “My siblings and I got to see all the cool stuff she did for her job and we also got to shoot. To me, I thought my mom was the coolest because she was a Combat Arms Training and Maintenance instructor at the time, she was a great shooter and I could see how great of a leader she was to her troops.”

Fulton said her mother’s experience helps her understand the significant transition women’s service in the military has undergone in the past decades.

“My mom had to prove herself back in the day, especially being in Security Forces.” Fulton said. “I believe that women like her paved the way for us to have the opportunities that we have today.”

If she ever has a problem, Fulton relies on her mother’s years of experience for advice on how to handle both personal and professional situations.

“My mom is one of the biggest reasons I’m here today.” Fulton said. “Seeing her work hard and standing her ground when things got tough has helped me apply those strengths to my daily work. She taught me that being lazy doesn’t get you places and that I should use all the benefits of the Air Force I can.”

Traveling around the world and finishing school are some of Fulton’s top goals. She is currently enrolled at State Fair Community College and working to complete her associate degree.

“I really want to become a Medical Service Corps officer.” Fulton said. “After finishing my associate degree, I plan on a bachelor’s degree in business management or medical administration.”

Fulton strives to always do her best at work as she does with school. She received the 509th Healthcare Operations Squadron Airman of the Year and an Air Force Medical Service award for her work as a medical logistics technician.