BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Erica Krebsbach recently retired from the military after serving 24 years.
She decided to go into the military when she was just 17 years old. And after her 18th birthday, she started her career in the U.S. Airforce.
“And I was like yay get out of North Dakota, and I ended up back in the state for a 15-year assignment in Minot,” said Krebsbach.
Over the years, she’s worn a lot of different hats in her career.
However, her first assignment was four years in Maryland where she worked at Andrews Airforce Base.
She was there on September 11, 2001.
“I saw the smoke from the Pentagon,” said Krebsbach.
On that fateful day, she was woken up by a phone call.
“Because I had worked the night shift,” said Krebsbach. “And they said you’re on standby to come in. And then we turned on the news and saw what was happening.”
The Air Force One hangar was only a couple blocks from Krebsbach’s house.
“We actually went under lockdown not knowing if another plane is going to come into Andrews with it being such a spotlight for the president,” said Krebsbach.
During that time, she was a radio operator and September 11 wasn’t a normal day.
“It’s usually pretty busy. You talk to aircraft constantly and with all the planes being grounded it was an eerily quiet night of not knowing what is coming next for the country,” said Krebsbach.
Only a few months after 9/11, Krebsbach was deployed to Saudi Arabia.
“We put all the shades down on the plane and turned all the lights off from the inside of the plane because they were afraid we were going to get shot down,” said Krebsbach.
She says it was a scary time to be there especially being a woman.
“That is one country that doesn’t look fondly towards females. And the town hall that we eat at was run by the third-country national so I actually had a hard time getting served,” said Krebsbach.
That wasn’t the only country she spent time in.
Krebsbach spent one year in South Korea working in cybersecurity and was able to bring her daughter with her. Her daughter is adopted and is half-Korean.
“She got to immerse herself in the country and the language and the culture. And we actually got to visit her birth mother’s orphanage,” said Krebsbach.
As far as wanting her daughter to go into the military, Krebsbach hopes she goes to college first.
“With my 24 years of service, she already has college paid for,” said Krebsbach. “And she wants to be more into the artist career fields like baking or something like that. I would encourage her to do that first then join the military so she can stay close to home with Momma.”