SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.-- --
Born into a military family, her parent’s having been security forces, Airman 1st Class McKinley Palmer knew what she wanted to do when she grew up.
“My parents weren’t surprised when I told them I wanted to be security forces,” Palmer said. “My mom tried to convince me to do something else, but I really wanted to do canine work (military working dog handler).
“I remember seeing pictures of my father with his dog and seeing video tours of his kennel and thinking how cool it was,” she continued.
Now an entry controller with the 50th Security Forces Squadron, Palmer is two-thirds of the way to achieving her dream of becoming a MWD handler; the last step is qualifying for the position and undergoing training.
“You basically apply after a set amount of time and get recommendations from kennel masters such as the one at Peterson Air Force Base,” she said. “The last girl I knew to apply was down in Texas for training within a month. As soon as I’m eligible I’m going to send my package up.”
Tech Sgt. Michael Fuhrer, Palmer’s flight sergeant with the 50th SFS, is confident Palmer will find success as a MWD handler, citing her short time with the squadron at Schriever Air Force Base as an example of her work ethic.
“I think she will find success,” he said. “From the time I’ve been on the flight she’s always happy, doing everything with a smile on her face.”
Palmer was recently awarded with the Schriever AFB 5/6 Council’s Airman of the Quarter award for her outstanding service. She said she was honored by the nomination, though surprised.
Combining volunteer work, as well as her service helping keep the base and its inhabitants secure, maintains the 50th Space Wing’s mission of evolving space and cyberspace warfighting superiority through integrated and innovative operations, as well as align with the wing’s vision and priorities.
Personally, Palmer said it has led her to become a better Airman.
“The volunteer work along with being in security forces makes you a little bit better-rounded,” she said. “It helps you be able to see things from other perspectives.”
Fuhrer and others have noticed Palmer’s conviction to serve both on and off base.
“Along with her job, she puts just as much effort in volunteering,” he said. “She’s just a happy person in general.”
Palmer said she is humbled to serve in a state she loves while doing a job she always wanted to do, and looks forward to her future as a MWD handler.
“Being security forces has given me the opportunities to do some super cool things, and with volunteering, I like to help make something actually happen. We’ve all been to events that are well organized and have a lot of support, I want people to think ‘that was great!”’