She had been in the Air Force for a few years, deployed once. She had seen lots of new countries and enjoyed new experiences. But Kelly Davis found herself in uncharted territory when she gained an influx of Instagram followers a few months ago.
The 22-year-old Santa Clarita native had been posting pictures from Ramstein, Germany, where she is stationed as a member of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces. One day, while in Turkey, she noticed she was getting more likes than usual on a particular photo.
“I posted this picture while I was deployed, and I was in Turkey, and I was at work with my vest on,” she recalled. “We had found crabs, so I posted a picture with a crab sitting on my vest. That ended up being the post I got a ton of likes on. And since then, I’ve just slowly been increasing my followers.”
After an article ran on the website The Avationist, Davis found herself with 500 to 600 more followers. Many are legitimately curious about what it’s like to be in the Air Force — something Davis herself loves.
She’s been in the military since July 2015, but her role as a “military cop” came about through her family’s law enforcement background.
“My mom works for (Los Angeles Police Department), and my dad works for Burbank Police Department,” she said. “Everybody in my family is basically law enforcement. I knew I wanted to do something in the law enforcement realm.”
Davis attended West Ranch High School, then College of the Canyons for a year, before her father brought up joining the military.
“I did a bunch of research and realized Air Force had the lifestyle I wanted,” she said. “Honestly, it’s the same as any other job. But you have to go through the physical testing to get into the military. But after that, it’s pretty simple.”
The senior airman now works in an armory and is in charge of issuing weapons and organizing them when they are turned back in as people pass through the base on their way to deployment or en route coming back from deployment.
Davis said life on a military installation is more secure and slow-paced than being on the streets as an LAPD cop, but being deployed can be a different game, as recruits know nothing about the area.
In any case, her influx of Instagram followers (at press time, she was sitting at 13,300) have asked her a lot of questions she is more than willing to answer.
“They go, ‘Oh, I saw you on the Air Force hashtag,’” she said. “And then they want help. I love helping people because, especially when you’re about to be deployed, you don’t know a lot, and I want to help people and lead them on the best path for them and what they want.”
Davis doesn’t get to go home as much as she’d like, but she is hoping her next visit at the end of the year will ease the feelings of homesickness.
“I haven’t seen my family in a year and half, not since March 2017, before I was deployed (to Turkey),” she said. “That was for about four months. I signed a contract for four years, which would mean in July of this year, I have the option to get out of the military.”
But Davis wants to submit an application to retrain into a different military job, like the National Guard or the Reserves. She thinks the military is a great opportunity for anybody interested in joining.
“I’ve been blessed to have seen so many places I never saw or wouldn’t see without the military, and do things I never thought I’d experience,” she said. “That’s my biggest thing. People who are nervous about joining, I tell them this is the best opportunity I’ve ever had.”