Airman brings years of service to AF
By Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 20, 2016
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
Airman 1st Class Daniel Caraglio, 20th Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician, chose to enlist later than most Airmen with reasons all his own.
Enlisting at age 32, Caraglio used his diverse work experience and skills gained through holding more than 20 different jobs to assist his fellow Airmen throughout basic military training and continues to do so at his first duty assignment at Shaw AFB.
“Having worked [in] career fields ranging from factory lines to retail management, I am capable of applying my skills to assist anyone in need,” said Caraglio. “I worked in factory lines as the only English speaker and grappled up the sides of homes with 90 pounds of gear as a roofer.”
Caraglio’s drive to help people be their best began almost 20 years ago.
“My dad left pretty early,” said Caraglio. “I was in [the] sixth grade; about 12. It was just my mom in the house, and as the big brother, I had to put my childhood on hold just a little bit to take care of my younger siblings.”
Coming from what he describes as “absolutely nothing,” was rough, so he dedicated himself to taking care of his family and anyone else he met along his journey.
“I did those 20 odd jobs to help provide for my wife and daughter, but in the end, it was just taking away from my time with them,” said Caraglio.
Caraglio said honor was the biggest drive behind his decision to join the armed forces, admitting he felt he would regret his decision later in life if he did not serve while he was eligible.
“Basic training was my first taste of being in the Air Force and probably one of the hardest things mentally,” said Caraglio. “I had to leave my family behind temporarily to help provide for them.”
Utilizing his refined people skills and attentive mindset, he helped build cohesion in his struggling flight throughout BMT.
“I used to focus on the little things in basic training.” Said Caraglio. “When we were told to get on the wall, everybody would rush to the wall which was great, but I would go help and get the slower ones on the wall first.”
While in basic military training, Caraglio served as dorm chief helping to ensure the success of not only his flight but also his brother and sister flights who were in need of assistance.
“I helped lower-week dorm chiefs report their flights for accountability,” said Caraglio. “It was unheard of for a [basic military training] trainee to report a flight and say, ‘Sir, trainee Caraglio reports as ordered, permission to assist wingman in accountability?’”
Upon graduation, Caraglio applied his newly acquired Air Force knowledge and his innate caring for others to make an impact on his new family at Shaw AFB.
“Given my age, the idea of rank has never brought fear to me, even in basic,” said Caraglio. “As long as I was respectful, being able to talk to someone as an equal has been awesome. I'm just happy I'm able to serve my country, and I made the enlistment window. That's more important than a few more stripes on my shoulders."
As a mental health technician, Caraglio has provided numerous services to the Airmen, Soldiers and family members on base.
“I can take vital signs, schedule patients and follow-up appointments for my wingmen,” said Caraglio. “I’m not trying to teach all my skills to people; I’m just here to help so you can do your job and succeed.”
His positive outlook of service before self has been seen by supervision in and out of his career field, although he has been on station for less than half a year.
“He is a very hard worker and is dedicated to what he does,” said Staff Sgt. Natalia Yarbrough, 20th Medical Operations Squadron mental health NCO in charge. “He is always first to jump up and ask to assist.”
Whether it be military or civilian, everyone chooses a path in life. One Airman’s years of experience have helped mold the lives of those he has come in contact with.
In his final remarks, Caraglio leaves everyone with a few small words of wisdom: “live life and love living it; don’t be scared of anything.”