Portrait of a Professional: January 2011

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Portrait of a Professional is a monthly profile of an outstanding Staff Sergeant or below. Staff Sgt. Jennifer Parks, a trombone player with the 561st Air Force Band, is featured in this month's Portrait of a Professional.

What is your favorite memory in the Air Force?
Traveling with the band to Vandenberg Air Force Base. We had our Annual Training there and we got to go out into the community and play at the San Luis Obispo farmers market. It was funny because they set us up across from the tri-tip barbecue pit so our uniforms smelled after a two hour set.

What motivated you to enlist in the Air Force?
I started out as a civilian contractor for about a year and a half, because the band needed a trombone player. I enjoyed being around the people in the band, half of them grew up in the same place I'm from, and the other half I went to school with. Just being around a good mix of people was motivation enough.

How has being an Airman changed your outlook on life?
One of the reasons I joined the military was to give me a reason to stay in shape. Since joining the military I've gone from being a high school band director, for six years, to being in Law Enforcement for past three years. Since I have enlisted and kept myself in shape, I am now taking my SWAT test in the spring.

What's the most important lesson you've learned in the military?
I think as a young adult the chain of command concept is important; knowing your place and realizing you have a place.

If you could deploy anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would want to play at the NATO Games in Germany. Every year different military bands showcase during the NATO conference, it allows us to show military power through music.

If you could choose any Air Force job, which would it be? Why?
A lot of people I work with ask me why I went enlisted and didn't commission, so I would probably get my commission and go work with the Unmanned Flight Project.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Modesto, Calif.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy board sports; snowboarding and wake boarding especially.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
It may surprise people that I work in a women's jail facility. I think people in the wing assume band members wouldn't have odd jobs, but we pretty much have everything.