Focusing on my Islamic faith helps make military service possible

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Diass Seck
  • 439th Maintenance Group

If you’ve never met a woman of African heritage who serves in the world’s greatest Air Force and practices the Islamic faith, let me introduce myself. My name is Senior Airman Diass Seck, and I’m from Senegal, West Africa.

I thank God (Allah in Arabic) every single day that I was born into the Islamic faith. Islam is so pure, and without it I would not be the person I am today. My parents taught me to how to practice our faith from an early age. When I was five, I learned to pray all five Islamic daily prayers (the Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha’a). I was also taught to never eat pork, never drink alcohol and live a moral lifestyle.

Practicing the Islamic faith while being a part of the U.S. Air Force can be challenging at times. Since I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be in the military, but I also knew it would be hard to balance the two things I am so passionate about – service and religion.
When I went through Basic Military Training, I couldn’t pray the way I normally do throughout the day because I had a mission to accomplish. Every night, after lights out, I would sit up in my bed and make up all five prayers I missed throughout the day. Sometimes I would feel guilty for not doing the prayers the way God asks, but that’s the way it had to be and I felt God would understand.

Like every other person, I have had obstacles to overcome in my life. My way of dealing with difficult times is to lean on my faith and to remember that God is always there for me, no matter what. I pray on the best days of my life and the worst days.

In 2019, I began the journey of joining the Air Force. The process of going through the Military Entrance Processing Station was the hardest obstacle I had to overcome. I went through MEPS on two different occasions, and, unfortunately, was disqualified both times. At that point in my life, I felt betrayed and started to question why God was not accepting my prayers and helping me through these major obstacles.

During one fateful Ramadan night in June 2019, the holiest month in the Islamic faith, I prayed all night asking God to grant my wish of getting another chance of going through MEPS. He granted my wish, and I made it through MEPS with flying colors. This event in my life encouraged me even more to have trust in my Islamic faith and to know that all will be well one day if God wills it.

The Quran contains 114 amazing chapters or Surahs. My favorite verse in the Quran is Ayatul Kursi, which is in the second Surah. Each day before leaving my home, I love listening to Ayatul Kursi because it reminds us that nothing or no one can ever be comparable to God, and He is the one who makes all things possible.

Swearing to give my life to protect our country is a very big deal, and can come with many fears. Listening to the Avatul Kursi each day as I lace up my boots in the morning gives me the strength to be the very best Airman I can be.

To all my fellow wingmen, I hope my story encourages you all to pursue your faith, whatever it may be, because faith works. Having and finding faith, within any religion, can be hard at times, especially with some of the obstacles we face within our lifetime, but it is absolutely worth it because it will give you the necessary tools to be a strong and resilient person.