Maxwell Highlight: Protecting those who protect freedom

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Tyrique Barquet
  • 42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In a role that is crucial to the mission and security at Maxwell Air Force Base, Staff Sgt. Miranda Stillion shines within the 42nd Security Forces Squadron.

Stillion serves as the 42nd SFS military working dog trainer and plays a crucial role ensuring the security of the base.

Role and Mission Support

Her primary responsibility is to prepare and to validate all MWD teams for their detection base certification. This crucial role ensures MWD teams are equipped to detect explosives and narcotics, thereby maintaining the safety and security of the base and its populace. By deterring potential threats, Stillion plays a vital part in the overarching mission.

Path to Service

Inspired by her grandfather and father, both of whom served in the military, Stillion chose to follow them after finding that college was not what she expected.

“I wanted to be a part of something bigger,” said Stillion. “I knew my dreams for life were too big to stay in my hometown. The military provided a lot of opportunity like travel and schooling, so I took the chance.”

Dedication to Service

Stillion's commitment to the Air Force is driven by her passion for her work.

“I love what I do, every aspect,” said Stillion. “From leading or mentoring my troops to training the MWDs, it all gives me purpose.”

Her dedication is evident in her efforts to ensure all MWD teams meet monthly requirements for obedience, patrol and detection. This preparation allows the teams to conduct security sweeps for distinguished visitors to the installation, such as support missions for the United States Secret Service, including protection details for the president and vice president.

Overcoming Challenges

In 2019, Stillion faced a significant personal challenge when she was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. The struggle affected her ability to function both at home and at work, leading her to contemplate leaving the military.

“I started going to therapy and finding things that brought me joy again,” said Stillion. “I fell back in love with my job and life. It was a hard road with lots of good and bad days but now, in 2024, I can say I am completely and utterly happy.”

Words of Wisdom and Leadership

Reflecting on her experiences, Stillion emphasizes the importance of mental health and resilience. She advises her 16-year-old self, and those she leads, that it is okay to seek help and take breaks when needed. Her leadership mantra focuses on the strength found in resilience and the value of a strong support system.

Her Top Tips for Success are to:

1. Be Open-Minded: Even if you may not agree with something, consider its potential usefulness in the future.
2. Embrace Challenges: Step outside of your comfort zone and tackle difficult tasks head-on.
3. Stay True to Yourself: Authenticity is crucial in maintaining integrity and achieving personal fulfillment.