WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Looking for a new direction in life after her grandfather’s death, Wichita native Kristin Sickler joined the Army in September 2000 after her high school graduation.

After basic training, she went to Fort Lee, Virginia, to become what’s known as a “92-Alpha” (Automated Logistical Specialist) before receiving orders to New York.

“I worked at a place where we would order parts for jobs that we would open with different sections of the military,” Sickler said.

As a 92-Alpha, Sickler would work to keep parts supplied at her station of Fort Drum, New York.

“We had a weapons shop that fixed weapons, we had shops that fixed Humvees, shops that fixed generators, all the big equipment—just different shops, and they would come to our office, open up a job, then we would be responsible for the parts and pulling everything for each job,” Sickler said.

After 9/11, Sickler initially had no idea whether or not she’d deploy to the Middle East, but that quickly changed.

“My friend that was in the same unit as I was, she volunteered to go, and she, then her mom got sick and may possibly pass away, and since her and I had the job, I’d told her I’d go in her place,” Sickler said.

In July 2003, Sickler deployed with the 710th Forward Support Battalion to Kandahar Airfield—working logistics at one of the largest military bases in Afghanistan.

“It was pretty scary at first, especially, you know, the very first night we got there, stuff was, make, a lot of noise was happening, and we hadn’t even really been briefed, and you’d only been in training for that stuff, you know, so it was kind of scary, but you get used to it, and it just kinda becomes part of normal life for a while,” Sickler said.

Sickler recalled the airfield being under constant threat of an attack.

“A guy had got in and was shining a mirror out to another guy out, outside of our, you know, base, and they shot, and it didn’t get anyone, but it shot right in the middle of where we were,” Sickler said. “When they would go out on the convoys and stuff and come back and bring vehicles that were damaged, some people were injured.”

Sickler would spend nine months in Kandahar.

“[My friend’s] mom ended up passing away while we were gone, so I was glad I did it because she needed to be there for her mom,” Sickler said.

After her time in the service, Sickler worked for the Army in a civilian capacity. She now works for the Department of Defense in contract management.

If you want to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Hannah Adamson at hannah.adamson@ksn.com.