KSLA Salutes: Combining Service & Dreams

Airman uses talent to help further dreams both in and out of uniform

KSLA Salutes: Combining Service & Dreams

BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - Nicole Johnson is a mechanical ordinance technician. In layman’s terms, “So basically we build bombs," she said. However, military life wasn’t her first career choice.

“I knew I wanted to be an artist, however working on commissions alone I know it doesn’t always work. So, I wanted to have something as a back up, and be able to have a retirement and medical benefits,” explained Johnson, and that’s when she learned about the Air Force.

She first joined the Air Force Reserves, and now works as a civilian counterpart during the week. “I like it and I’ve stayed in I’m going to reenlist.”

The now Staff Sergeant has even found a way to combine her service while fueling her passion for art. She’s even painted several murals on Barksdale Air Force Base and helped design unit insignia to help build morale.

“Whenever you walk in and see it it’s just exciting and you feel really proud to think I did this it’s going to stay here for years and years to come.”

With each pop of color, Johnson leaves her mark and helps fuel the fight.

Air Force SSgt Nicole Johnson describes the work and story behind her latest mural on BAFB (Source: KSLA News 12)
Air Force SSgt Nicole Johnson describes the work and story behind her latest mural on BAFB (Source: KSLA News 12)

“Whenever we have a large bomb build that feels really awesome to look at your work and say yes I built all of these.”

From munitions to commissioned pieces, Johnson is always creating. “I do lean more towards realistic art, most the art that I do is realistic or hyper realistic, where basically I look at an image and I try and re-create it as much as I can.”

“I can basically zone out and calm down with it especially when you get into something with a lot of detail.”

She’s painting away the stresses of the job; making a difference, one stroke at a time.

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