Tia Schroeder, 24
Photo: U.S. Air Force
Born and raised: Biggs, California
Graduate of: Biggs High School
Has taken college courses at: Rutgers University, Pima College and the University of Arizona
Senior Airman Schroeder is a basic still photographer stationed with the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing at a classified forward deployed location in Southwest Asia.
Why Senior Airman Schroeder joined the Air Force: "I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after high school. So I thought the Air Force looked exciting and I gave it a shot."
Senior Airman Schroeder is from a very small town. "There are less people in my hometown than there are on this base, and we have almost 2,000 people here," she said.
Thank you all, again, for writing me. It really raises my spirits when I get mail from ya'll. I hope everything is okay with all of you. Everything is going pretty good here. The tempo here is still high but its calmed down a little. I've been taking a lot of photos around the base and when I'm not taking photos, I'm usually glued to the television watching the news. The other day I took a few photos of the pilots who might have bombed Saddam's bunker, which was interesting. Documenting Air Force history is what makes my job interesting.
I would like to address a couple of the emails that ya'll wrote me. Wyatt in Mississippi was telling me how I've got the best job in the Air Force — the ability to capture life, tell stories and provoke emotions, now and 100 years from now — just from one picture. Wyatt, I would have to say that you are very correct with your statement. I love the fact that photos that I may take during my time in the Air Force my grandchildren may see years and years from now. Who knows — maybe I will even become famous (smile). Also, I would like to say "thanks" to Lynn in Arizona for her kind words. Lynn, I realize every morning how lucky I am to be alive. I feel deeply saddened for Pfc. Lori Piestewa and all of the other fallen soldiers, Marines, airmen and seaman who have lost their lives. Their deaths have not been in vain. Also, to all of the families who have lost loved ones in the war, my thoughts and my prayers go out to you.
My time is drawing closer and closer to going home. I would like to tell my mother and all of my family how much I love and miss them.
I would also like to say thank you to my hubby, Jed, for standing by me. I love you pumpkin! Also, to all the MTV viewers who continue to write me, I just wanted to say thank you so very, very much from the bottom of my heart. You are helping make my stay here easier when I see how much all of you stand behind us troops.
I'm still doing okay. I'm tired, but okay. I want to thank everyone who
wrote to me. Once again you touched my heart. I love getting e-mails from
ya'll. As soon as I get them I read them to all my friends and co-workers.
It makes them smile.
Things have started to slow down a little bit here. I've taken a lot of
photos since the war has kicked off. I saw some of them on television last
week, which was great. But besides that, nothing really interesting has
happened. I'm getting a little excited because I (hopefully) only have
about six weeks left (I'm crossing my fingers). I've been here since
Thanksgiving. I'm getting excited because I CANNOT wait to see my hubby.
I wanted to address some of the e-mails ya'll wrote me. I really would like
to say thank you so much to Misty from Kingsland, Georgia, for her e-mail. I
am safe and healthy, Misty. Thank you for thinking so highly of me. I love
you too! Also, I would like to say hello to Brandy in California. I would
like to address her opinion on the fact that a lot of young people take the
freedoms we as Americans have for granted. I agree with her completely on
that, I remember not too long ago being in high school (six years ago) that I
never thought that one day I would ever be put in the situation I am being
put in now. I guess I've always thought that we were pretty much invincible
from anyone or anything. Obviously, recent events have proven that to be
false. I think that a lot of people (young and old) have realized that fact
I would like to say thank you to everyone again for all your support. It
helps make my life here a little easier to know all of you care so much!
As I was reading your e-mails tears started falling down my face. I couldn't believe how much I needed to hear that people actually cared about "us" troops serving over here. Words cannot express how all of your e-mails made me feel.
The last couple of days since the war has started have been very busy and tiring. I don't really get to hang out with any of my friends here because everyone is working so much we can't find any time to see each other. All we do now here is work 12 hours and sleep as much as we can. But we will all endure and come out of this on top.
I wanted to address some of the e-mails that ya'll sent me. A couple of the viewers asked me how I ended up being a photographer for the Air Force. My answer to that is that I was lucky. I didn't know that the Air Force offered photography as a career field and my recruiter was really cool and hooked me up. I couldn't take a photo to save my life before I came in and now here I am four years later seeing my stuff on television and in magazines. It's one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.
Also, to Jose in California, thanks for being thoughtful about the "Taco Bell" situation. It made me smile.
Thank you all so very much for caring, we really appreciate all of you and we promise we will not let you down. Please continue to write me with any questions you may have.
Your friend and fellow American,
Hi, my name is SrA Tia Schroeder, and I am an Air Force photographer with the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing. As a photographer I take photos of numerous things. I shoot a lot of photos for new stories which have been used on
commercials, magazines and in newspapers around the world. Sometimes I take photos for briefings that are used by the Wing Commander of the base.
Just recently I got to fly on a KC 135 Tanker for a refueling mission which was really cool. I've been in the Air Force for the last four years as a photographer and I would definitely have to say I have one of the best jobs
in the Air Force. I've been fortunate in my career to travel a lot and take a lot of interesting photos. It's great being a photographer in the Air Force because on one side it is very glamorous but on another I still see
the military side of it. I would have to say I am basically the "eyes of the Air Force."
I live in a tent with nine other females, which can be hard at times. But I would have to say that we are all one big family. Everyone here on the base is cool. We have a movie theatre here and we tan a lot. It's usually about 110 degrees here so it gets pretty hot. I usually work about 12 hours a day, which can be pretty tiring so I usually sleep a lot. I can't wait to get back to the States to actually get to go to a mall. I can't wait to see my
husband Jed and my two puppies, Brusier and Duke. There are a lot of things I cannot wait to do when I get back to the States. Two words: TACO BELL! After being here as long as I have I know that all the small things in my
life that I have taken for granted I will try to appreciate more, I'm sure a lot of you can agree with me on that.
I have been in theatre for about four months now and it's not really that bad. Besides the fact that I haven't seen grass or trees in a while, everything is brown, and every time I have to go to the bathroom I have to walk about a mile. But besides that it's not that bad. I really miss my family a lot! But I know that I am over here for a good reason which is helping me get through this.
Last night when the "war" kicked off I was sleeping, and when I woke up this morning I was a little nervous about everything happening, but I am also kind of excited for the fact that we've all been here for a long time and we all knew that it was things were going to start soon, we just didn't know when. I think everyone here is geared and ready, this is why we put on our uniform every day, for moments like this. Hopefully though, whether it be for the Iraqis or the world, everyone will be able to have a sense of peace and life will go back as normal as it possibly can.
I know that everyone's lives including mine have changed and will forever be changed with everything that has happened in the past, but I think it is for the best. I would like to know that some day when I have children they won't have the same worries with all the terrorist activity that's been happening in the last couple of years that we all have to worry about. I am very proud of the United States military, my country and everything it stands for. I am very proud to say that "I am an American."
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