Dobbins Airman Shares Wanderlust and Dreams of Digital Arts

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lauren Douglas
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airman Jaiden McDaniels, 700th Airlift Squadron aviation resource manager, is a new Airman at the 94th Airlift Wing who has big dreams of living abroad and illustrating digital art for a Japanese animation studio.

In 2022, after McDaniels completed high school, he wanted to pursue higher education in digital arts. He researched arts programs at schools he was interested in, but without full preparation for college life, he decided to join the Air Force for direction, experience, opportunity to travel and other benefits.

“Everybody at the 700th [Airlift Squadron] is calm and helps me to not be stressed, which allows me to do my job as best as I can,” said McDaniels. “I thought it would be much more intense here, like basic training or tech school.”

As an aviation resource manager, McDaniels is responsible for documenting aircrews’ qualifications to fly, auditing correctness of records, keeping track of flight information folders, inputting crew flying hours, recording task identifications and more. The duties he completes are essential for the flying squadron’s personnel operations – without his work, the mission could not happen.

McDaniels is still in the early stages of his career, focusing on education, learning and upgrade training. He preparing to become a 5-level journeyman in his career field in the coming months. Upgrade training allows promotion opportunities to his next achievements in the Air Force. He enjoys being on orders with the opportunity to network and learn his job in the Air Force and looks forward to deploying in the future.

“Jaiden is currently learning daily operations, preparing and launching crews,” said Master Sgt. Zachary Palomo, 700th Aviation Resource Management NCOIC. “He is picking it up pretty well. He is still new and a little shy but we are making sure he feels like part of the team.”

McDaniels wants to use his Air Force career experience to prepare him for a diverse future in the arts. He plans to take his time to earn and save money, as well as utilize the G.I. Bill and tuition assistance opportunities granted to service members.

He expressed that his love for Japanese arts came from growing up with exposure to shows and cartoons. As he became an adult, he was drawn to Japanese culture and nightlife and said it always looks fun, as though there is so much to do. During breaks and free time, McDaniels reads manga comics, which is a general term for the genre of comic books and graphic novels originally produced and published in Japan, and watches his favorite anime shows.

“I recently learned about his interest in Japanese culture,” said Palomo. “I think his artistic side is unique and adds a level of depth in what he brings to the team. He’s still opening up as a new Airman but we're happy to create an environment for him to share his interests.”

“Joining the Air Force gave me more direction and made me more efficient,” said McDaniels. He went on to explain how enlisting gave him an opportunity to learn more than choosing another career path straight out of high school.

McDaniels says it is a lot of information to learn but is enjoying his career with the 700th AS. He plans to apply to schools and start with an arts program in the coming year. In the meantime, McDaniels will keep practicing and uploading his drawings, while continuing to learn all that Dobbins and the Air Force has to offer.