BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (KSLA) — Before you take a tour or maybe speak to speak to the four-star general on Barksdale Air Force Base, you have to go through the public affairs office.
There you’ll find Tech. Sgt. Will Bracy, who works to get out information and share the story of Barksdale and other airmen to the public.
When speaking with Bracy, you’ll soon find out he is quite the entertainer — with a vibrant personality that helps him connect to students on his base tours.
“Some bases will just do what’s called a windshield tour," Bracy said. "They get on a school bus or a charter bus and they drive you around base ... . ‘This is what this is, this is what that is; all right, thank y’all very much for coming by to Barksdale’.”
But Bracy wanted to change that. His tours are hands-on and full of information students can understand.
He is no stranger to military life. His father joined the Army at the age of 18. But this Houston, Texas, native had no plans to follow in his footsteps.
“Turned out I made sixth chair state in Texas (for choir)," Bracy said. "I was like ‘I’m that good and everybody else is just mean mugging me and I was like I didn’t know I was that good.’ Okay, kid off the street that likes to sing and I enjoyed doing it. Why don’t I go to college for this.”
He realized it was too expensive to pursue his dream and began working different jobs until 9/11 happened. The following May, he decided to join the Air Force.
“I thought I was going to be working on computers. Turns out I was going to be fixing computers, which are two different jobs. So I was like ‘I really don’t like that job’."
Bracy soon transitioned into a visual information specialist or a military artist.
“My first 17 days of my technical school was me, a couple of airmen (and) a whole bunch of soldiers. And we’re all sitting at easels learning what pastels are."
In 2006, another transition came where he found himself engulfed in the world of broadcasting and public affairs, traveling all around the world.
“I’ve been to Korea," Bracy said. “I’ve been stationed in England. I’ve been stationed in Italy. I’ve done Afghanistan. I’ve done Kyrgyzstan, and I’ve done the United States a couple of times."
But his musical roots never left him.
“I finally got what’s called a Topper. It’s basically the equivalent of a military Tony, and I got best military performer in a musical.”
While in Italy, Bracy was able to participate in different music and theater programs part of the U.S. Army Instillation Management Command Europe Entertainment Program.
These days, his performances are usually in front of his favorite crowd — kids.
“You get to see the eyes light up, especially when I connected with something that they know of," Bracy said.
"So when you connect that in their heads and you see their eyes go up “Oh hey, I know about this, I’ve seen that, I’ve seen that show, this is where that came from’ ... they get to learn a little bit about history.”
With retirement coming pretty soon, he’ll be taking his final bow then rehearsing for life’s next big show. Bracy will be leaving Barksdale next year and says when he does retire, he would like to work as an enlisted aid for a high school JROTC program.