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A1C Lindsay’s journey from pro sports to the Air Force

Airman 1st Class Leslie Ann Lindsay displays some of her 50th Security Forces Squadron gear during a shoot March 22, 2021 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. After a stint with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts and the NBA's Indiana Pacers, Lindsay joined the Air Force and is currently with the 50th Security Forces Squadron. (Photo by Dennis Rogers)

Airman 1st Class Leslie Ann Lindsay displays some of her 50th Security Forces Squadron gear during a shoot March 22, 2021 at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. After a stint with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts and the NBA's Indiana Pacers, Lindsay joined the Air Force and is currently with the 50th Security Forces Squadron. (Photo by Dennis Rogers)

Airman 1st Class Leslie Ann Lindsay gathers with fellow cheerleaders as the smile for a photo. Lindsay previously cheered in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts.

Airman 1st Class Leslie Ann Lindsay gathers with fellow cheerleaders as the smile for a photo. Lindsay previously cheered in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts. (Courtesy photo)

Airman 1st Class Leslie Ann Lindsay helps the NBA's Indiana Pacers cheerleaders perform during a game. Along with cheerleading for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, Lindsay also cheered for the Pacers. (Courtesy photo)

Airman 1st Class Leslie Ann Lindsay helps the NBA's Indiana Pacers cheerleaders perform during a game. Along with cheerleading for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts, Lindsay also cheered for the Pacers. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Airman 1st Class Leslie Ann Lindsay, 50th Security Forces Squadron response force member, took a unique path to serve our nation.

Prior to enlisting, Lindsay danced for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts from 2015-17 and soon after she joined the NBA’s Indiana Pacers dance team from 2017-19.

“I was drawn toward dance since age three,” she said. “It is taxing on your body and it’s a lot of hard work.”

Lindsay attended Indiana State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. During her freshman year at ISU, Lindsay discovered the school’s dance team, which piqued her interest and rekindled a childhood passion.

The Defender said she cherished her dance experience at ISU, but didn’t want it to end after graduating in 2015. In April of the same year, Lindsay completed a two-week-long tryout for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts and made the team.

The process included three rounds of dance routines, interviews with various members of the organization to test sports knowledge and a fitness test.

“You have to know the organization and the history of the sport,” Lindsay said. “You enjoy it, but it’s nerve-wracking because even after you make the team, you have to audition every year after that. It’s easily the most stressful two weeks of my life, but I got through it.”

Her older brother, Josh Lindsay, witnessed her dedication to secure spots on both teams.

“She focused heavily on dance and she was told at an early age from a couple of different people, ‘Dancing will never get you anywhere,’” he said. “She put her mind to it and made the Colts and the Pacers teams.”

Though she enjoyed her experiences with both organizations, Lindsay had to boost her income to ensure she maintained her life outside of the sport. Lindsay said the work is like a part-time job with a full-time commitment.

To supplement her salary while with the Colts, Lindsay worked as a trainer and nutritionist. During her time with the Pacers, her desire to assist others blossomed.

“I worked to get my master’s in medical microbiology because before the military, my goal was to attend medical school,” she said. “In my off time, I’d work with an organization that went to Africa to help with women and children.”

Lindsay valued her work in Africa, but recognized benefitting others’ lives required more than three weeks, which was the duration of each trip. This realization buoyed Lindsay toward a career in the military.

“I knew I could either sit in a classroom for eight more years and wait to do something, or I could try to change something now,” Lindsay said.

In November 2019, Lindsay enlisted in the Air Force as a Defender because she said members deploy often and have the opportunity to do humanitarian work, which aligns with her vision.

“To hear her talk about [her goals,] you can tell that she’s passionate,” said Maj. Timothy Marriner, 50th SFS commander. “She has short-term goals to get there and she understands it’s a long journey, but she’s willing to grind to accomplish her goals.”

Marriner said Lindsay’s hunger shows with each conversation. If she’s at her post or speaking to a fellow Wingman, Marriner said she moves with a purpose.

“She’s immersed herself and has a passion to get better at her job,” Marriner said. “Seeing someone who’s new and has that fire in their eyes and wants to learn the job is refreshing. I’m looking forward to see how she progresses during her time at Schriever and I know she’s going to do great things moving forward.”

While in the military, Lindsay hopes to commission in security forces, serve 20 years and set an example to inspire fellow Wingmen and highlight how they can positively influence others.

“I want to make a difference,” she said. “I’m grateful for my background and coming in at a later age because that helped me with my career. I hope to guide younger Airmen in their careers the way people have assisted me early on.”