Master Sergeant, U.S. Air Force
- Arab American Woman Defends
- Name: Rima Kassis
Rank: Master Sergeant
Branch: US Air Force
Status: Active Duty
Billet: Instructor,Jet Aircraft Mechanic
I am first generation American. My mom, dad, sister and brother came to
America in 1957. They came from Lebanon. My dad was Palestinian and my mom
As I grew up I always thought about the fact that if they hadn't come to
America, I may not have been born. I had always had an interest in the
mlitary due to the discipline. Couple
that with the fact that I wanted to pay back America giving my family the
opportunity to come here, I joined the USAF in 1986.
I have had a blessed career:
I trained at Sheppard AFB, TX and Reese AFB, TX before coming to Beale AFB,
Other than a remote tour to Korea in 1995-1996, I have been at Beale since
Next month I will PCS to Sheppard AFB.
I am an aircraft mechanic that has worked on T-38s, KC-135s and the U-2. I
am now teaching young crew chiefs on the basics of the U-2. I love this job!
Watching young airmen evolve to qualified mechanics is very fulfilling! II
will miss it.
It was funny how during desert storm many of my co-workers in my squadron
made anti-Arab comments freely in front of me! They all thought I was
Boy were they shocked when I proudly stated "I am an
Arab-American". Many walked away but some actually asked questions
about my culture. Even now, I speak proudly of my ethnicity and defy anyone
to say I am not a true American!
I am writing this on sept 11th, so I want to relate a story from last sept.
I was "stuck" in San Diego on a TDY. When I managed to return to
airport, I had to wait for my ride and luggage. I sat outside reading and
trying to enjoy that I was actually home and safe. A older man was sitting
next to me and we started to discuss Sept 11th. I had seen people acting so
nice and friendly the past 4 days, this was not going to be a problem.
started making anti-Arab comments. I was infuriated! I quickly informed him
that I was an Arab AND I was in the US military! I thought he was going to
croak. He got up and walked away.
I was glad he did!