As a running back for the Sayre Redskins High School Football team, Isaiah Firestine chased gridiron glory scoring touchdowns and racking up rushing yards.
Now, he is pursuing different dreams.
Firestine, 18, has become the first resident of the area to join the recently formed U.S. Space Force.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said. “It’s something I am excited about.”
Firestine will leave later this month for Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for basic training.
He will then undergo technical training for his military job involving space systems operations.
Tech Sgt. Leo Knight-Inglesby, a local Air Force recruiter, said Firestine’s job will entail detecting sea launch ballistic missiles, tracking satellites to assist in rocket launches and space flight operation, and other related duties.
“I am very excited for him,” Knight-Inglesby said. “It is just a really neat thing.”
He noted that Firestine scored high in the electronics section of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a multiple choice test, administered by the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command to determine qualification for enlistment in the armed services.
Firestine said electronics has long been an interest of his and will certainly fit into his career choice.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Isaiah,” Knight-Inglesby said.
Firestine had thought about joining the military for quite some time.
But after graduating high school, he headed for college in upstate New York with plans to continue playing football.
“College wasn’t the thing for me,” he said.
He talked to recruiters from other branches of the military, but conceded, “nothing sparked my interest.”
The Air Force and the Space Force in particular did interest him.
The Space Force is the 6th independent U.S. military service branch, tasked with missions and operations in the rapidly evolving space domain. Space Force is the first new military service in more than 70 years, following the establishment of the Air Force in 1947.
Of late, Firestine has been preparing for his departure.
He thinks he might make a career of the military.
He admits of having some apprehensions about leaving home and living a completely different kind of life than what he now has.
“I am going to be away from family for a long time,” he said. “I do hope to make some friends.”
For now, he said he is looking forward to basic training.
“Isaiah had a desire to serve in something new,” Knight-Inglesby said. “I am very proud of Isaiah.”
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