In Service To Her Country
My name is Kris Petron. I retired as a TSGT(Technical Sergeant) from the Air Force. I served from 99’ to 19’ in Aircraft Structural Maintenance. I maintained and repaired aeronautical weapon systems like the B2 Spirit, B1 Lancer, F16 Fighting Falcon, C130 Hercules, U2 Dragon lady, and many others. I loved serving, and I loved my job.
Self Care Often Comes Last
Unfortunately, I was neither appropriately nor effectively maintaining myself. Physically, I had endured a shoulder surgery and two major back surgeries in the duration of my career, but I just kept pressing on, until my declining mental health almost cost me my life. I found myself on an eye opening journey through psych wards, copious amounts of cognitive thearapy, endless medication regiments, and ultimately, unable to serve on active duty any longer.
She Found A Way
But I continue to serve, in other capacities. I was lucky enough to be transitioned into the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. When possible, I share my testimony as an AFW2 Ambassador, so that other veterans may find hope, and know that mental health IS maintainable in appropriate and effective ways, help is definitely out there.
Serving To Help Others
Through out my recovery, I have held the honor of witnessing the countless testimonies of veterans from all branches, ranks, and career fields. Their struggles, their pain, and their battle to find connection during, but markedly so, after their service ends is palpable to me. I believe this song reaches into the profound depths of what’s unsaid amongst us. I modified the lyrics to Metallica’s cover of Bob Segers “Turn the Page” starting with the last verse, because we (Living Veterans) pay an unspoken price on so many levels…we can’t forget, the good, the bad, the oath is what binds us.
The Power Of A Song
I’ve herd this song so many times throughout my life, but I really like Metallica’s version of it. The band’s music was a staple for me growing up, but I’ve found that the lyrics to several of Metallica’s songs are far more resonating post service. I would be curious to see what they think of this version, in my wildest dreams.
Lyrics That Tell The Story
I had to pattern each verse just enough to tell a story, but still maintain connection to the original lyrics. I’m not a good singer, I belted most of this out while driving in my car, or riding my zero turn lawnmower(it’s the closest I’ll ever get to flying an F16, lol) so that no one would hear me. It was really therapeutic. I think of “us” veterans collectively, even DoD employees. We share a burden of defending something that a great majority of citizens will never understand, nor should they have to…there’s a price to be paid for freedom, yet I would gladly pay it, a thousand time over. I hope others will find connection in this song too.