An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Why I Stay - Staff Sgt. Clum

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaiah Pedrazzini
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M.-- U.S. Air Force Staff. Sgt. Nicholas Clum, 314th Fighter Squadron aviation resource management noncommissioned officer in charge, has been in the service for 12 years and during this time he has credited his reenlistment on a multitude of decisions and support from varying factors.

“Military tradition was one of the primary things that influenced me to join the service in the first place,” said Clum. “I come from a long line of military service members as my dad was in the Army, my uncle is in the Marine Corps and my great, great uncle is a retired Navy Rear Admiral, so I had a tremendous amount of influence and eagerness to join.”

Despite the strong influence of military service in his family, Clum’s journey wasn't entirely driven by this legacy alone. The factors that shaped his path were multifaceted with family dynamics playing an equally significant role.

“My brother didn't want to take over the family business and my dad was very passionate about me studying to become an electrician,” said Clum. “That led to a lot of pressure and disagreements which made me want to get out of the house even more.”

While external expectations weighed on him, Clum's personal aspirations and experiences in the Air Force further refined his trajectory. His initial dreams faced challenges, testing his resilience and commitment.

“I've been in two career fields, I originally joined as a combat controller, but unfortunately I had been washed out,” said Clum. “At that moment, I realized that my mentality at the time was a shock and there was a lot of back and forths when it came to deciding my future in the service, until 2013 when my son was born.”

The birth of his son became a pivotal point in Clum's life, serving as a beacon that guided many of his decisions thereafter. Beyond just personal ambitions, a sense of responsibility and commitment shaped his choices.

“Even when I had the opportunity to train again to become a combat controller, I realized that the path I’ve decided for myself would be different,” said Clum. “My top priority had always been my son – and coupled with that the relationships and lessons in my career helped me fully understand my role in the Air Force.”

Although Clum's journey in the Air Force had provided numerous lessons and bonds, he wasn't immune to the many offers from outside opportunities. The allure of new challenges beckoned, but ties to the familiar also played a considerable role in the decisions he would make.

“What almost stopped me from reenlisting was that I had received an offer from the Space Force to be a corporate operations director over in Colorado Springs,” said Clum. “Of course, I received a lot of support from my family and friends when it came to my ultimate decision, yet the idea of leaving the environment where I had grown so much eventually led to my decision to stay in and continue to better myself.”

Staff Sgt. Clum's dedication to his work in the Air Force goes beyond his personal accomplishments or potential job titles. At the core of it all lies a deeper understanding of purpose, fueled by his dedication to providing for his family and particularly, for his son.

“What keeps me motivated at work and in life is understanding what's my “why”. If you don't understand why you’re here, you don't really have a good vision of where you wish to be then your life can feel like you're stuck in limbo,” said Clum. “I want my son to have the best, and the Air Force has given me the guidance and help that I need to ensure that happens.”