MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
Senior Airman Abigail Michael is a C-17 aircraft loadmaster for the 167th Airlift Wing, she has served for in the wing for three years.
As a loadmaster, she is responsible for properly loading, securing and escorting cargo and passengers before flight, and ensuring everything and everyone is safe and secure during flight.
“As a wing, every single member plays an important role in pushing the mission forward whether it be making sure records are in assortment or pallets are attached properly, to making sure the plane lands safely,” Michael said. “My job as a loadmaster is specifically impactful by making sure that the passengers and troops are taken care of, the plane is loaded safely in accordance to the limitations of the C-17 aircraft, and supporting the pilots in any way I can.”
Senior Master Sgt. Dave Twigg, the assistant superintendent for the 167th loadmaster section, said Michael displays professionalism and determination on and off the aircraft, juggling her college classes, staying current and proficient with her loadmaster requirements and volunteering time to help anyone in need.
“Senior Airman Abigail Michael is a beacon of the community and a beacon of the 167th Airlift Squadron loadmaster section. Her dedication to duty and selfless acts of kindness make her a mentor for all to follow,” Twigg said.
Michael earned her high school diploma from Faith Christian Academy in Martinsburg, W.Va., and is currently a full time student at Shepherd University pursuing a degree in nursing.
“As far as goals, I want to graduate from the school of nursing, and be able to serve my country as long as the Lord allows,” Michael said.
She said the most exciting thing she has done in her military career so far is transporting special operations personnel and their equipment across the country, noting how quickly they assembled their helicopters after landing.
Michael said she is most proud of the amazing relationships she has built.
“Whether it was while I was going through training, going to college, or learning how to manage life in general, there have been people that I could always lean on and look to for support,” she said.
She also noted the importance of finding balance with work and school and relationships.
“One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my career is that the ‘to-do’ list will always be there but your family, friends, and co-workers might not always be,” she said.
Her advice to the newest Airmen in the Wing: “take this amazing opportunity for all that it has to offer. You have to show up, and put the work in, but it will be all well worth it in time. Make sure to challenge yourself and to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because that is the only way you will learn and reach your goals.”
Michael said people may be surprised to know she is a part of a dance team for her church.
Her other hobbies include spending time with family, friend, and young adults.
“Interacting with young people is definitely a passion of mine whether it be a in a coaching position or through a youth group. I love Cross-fit, hiking, paddle-boarding and anything having to do outdoors.”