Success and Sacrifice: Airman Soisouvanh's story

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nathan Byrnes
  • 913th Airlift Group

It’s the first Saturday of the month, *Beep Beep Beep* goes the phone alarm at exactly 5 a.m ., Senior Airmen Elizabeth Soisouvanh, 913th Aerospace Medicine Squadron medical logistics, gets out of bed and gets ready to start her day. Being a full-time college student can be a stressful time in one’s life. Having to effectively manage time when it comes to classes, projects, tests, final exams, personal life, and work can be daunting. It can also mean a lot of early mornings. However, her alarm wasn’t set so she could get up and work on a paper due Sunday at 11:59 p.m. or get a jump start on studying for a test on Monday. No, this is the first Saturday of the month, which means its Unit Training Assembly weekend, something that Soisouvanh is excited to wake up early for. 

While most college students use their weekends to hang out with friends, enjoy the sporting events and nightlife that comes with college. Soisouvanh wanted the experience that comes with being a full-time college student, but also to serve her country. This led her to join the Air Force Reserve. That extra time commitment to something outside of school is a sacrifice she was more than willing to take, as her strong desire to give back and serve her country far outweighs the added stressor. 

Soisouvanh parents were immigrants who moved to the United States from Laos, a small country next to Thailand, and moved to America due to the unsafe conditions associated with the Vietnam War. Growing up she was heavily influenced by her parents, and attributes her drive for success to her family’s constant support and the sacrifices they made for the family.

“My parents have always instilled a strong sense of pride in this country ever since I was a kid. They truly are the definition of what the American dream is, said Soisouvanh.  “To go from nothing but the clothes on your back and having barely any money, to being successful and financially stable. I want to at least give a small portion back of what this country has done for me and my family.”
Currently a college student at Harding University, Soisouvanh just started her sophomore year where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She also has plans of commissioning as an officer and becoming a nurse in the Air Force upon graduation. 
Soisouvanh is grateful for the opportunities that was awarded to her by living in the U.S. and being able to pursue her dreams. 

“The opportunities and freedoms we have here are incredible,” said Soisouvanh. “I believe it is worth fighting for and that is why I joined. I also wanted to make my parents proud.”

Nursing school can be both physically and mentally taxing as one begins to develop the vast knowledge and skill set needed to be a successful nurse. It is one that Soisouvanh is excited to embark on and will be utilizing some of the skills she has learned since joining the Air Force Reserves.

“I think the military has shaped me into a stronger woman, both mentally and physically,” said Soisouvanh. “Basic training was difficult for me but it helped me get out of my comfort zone more. I am naturally a shy person and although I still am, I have become better at being more outspoken. It also showed me how important my physical health should be and it has made me prioritize exercise.”

According to Soisouvanh, medical logistics  is responsible for ensuring the hospital has the supplies required to provide proper healthcare to patients. This includes ordering and receiving supplies, as well as properly storing medication. 

Her time in the Reserves has also exposed her to what is like working in the medical field and gives her invaluable experience in interpersonal communication, leadership, strategic planning, critical thinking and decision making that will help her in her future career as a registered nurse.

Soisouvanh’s journey towards achieving her goals will be a long and strenuous one but with her strong character and determination it is a journey that is far from its last chapter.