The Real Life Story of Kenny Bish



June 1, 2021

Posted to Social Media by
Kenny Bish

Happy Birthday to me...7 years ago today, I earned a demotion back down to the bottom. For the last 7 years, I’ve hated celebrating my birthday because it put me back in that place again. I was depressed and was lucky enough to have close friends and mentors support me to get back to where I am today. Though I would never want to struggle like that again, it taught me so many valuable life lessons that made me a better Father, Brother, Friend, Supervisor, Leader and Airman. I’m still trying to find myself and wonder if I’m making the right decisions going forward but that’s the thing. I’m GOING FORWARD!

Let me explain to you the things that I learned through my Article 15.

First off; Telling someone they are strong or resilient can feel meaningless to the person who is feeling stuck in a place where a mental safe place is nowhere to be found.

The military has a weird bias towards masking negative emotions (or taking a knee)
This culture can be exhausting to take part in at times; sometimes life is a wreckage and sometimes resiliency doesn’t feel accessible.
For those that are going through it and have been through it and continue to struggle, remember that a bunch of small steps can add up to something great.

Know this:
  1. Hang in there.
  2. Do your best.
  3. It all counts.

Five words that I’ve held onto during this journey are Goals, Resiliency, Integrity, Tenacity, Grit.

  1. GOALS: Something that you are trying to achieve and work on daily. 
  2. RESILIENCY: Flex your mind in face of adversity to be able to bounce back.
  3. INTEGRITY: This means taking pride in yourself and your performance. Whether it’s checking IDs at the gate, opening an A-Circuit on an LF, conducting C-sUAS or even mopping/sweeping your units hallways. 
  4. TENACITY: It’s the sheer determination and perseverance to reach your goals and work towards reaching your full potential.
  5. GRIT: Although it’s not developed overnight, it is something earned by overcoming hardships.

Now I've given up the idea that there was any kind of getting things “right” in life. Life is not based on these five words, nor does it even have a formula.⁠⁠
Yet, you can’t change a situation you hate by hating on it more. Focus creates. Where you put your energy and attention creates growth and expansion. If we’re in the dark focusing on hating our lives, then our lives bring us more of what we hate.⁠⁠

But, if we take time to explore what we love, how we love, and the quality of love that we have for ourselves, we attract more experiences that reflect that love back to us.⁠⁠
Our life is simply a mirror. You can scream at the reflection, stomp your foot and declare that it’s not fair, or you can explore the idea that the reflection is there for your good and is giving you a chance to explore what needs to be realigned and then get to work dancing with the reflection in a more intentional way.⁠⁠

For those of you that ever have to grasp the situation of being depressed or suicidal…I ask that you reach out to your friends, family and those closest to you because they do care; I CARE!

For those Leaders that see their troops going through situations…I ask that you start leading. Being a Leader means you hold the highest rank and found a way to the top by earning it or by good fortune. Leader doesn’t equate to being adequate at leading. Leading means that others are willing to follow you because they genuinely want too. Positivity is contagious and Leaders have a lot of influence.

Thank you to all that have supported me through my toughest times and those that gave me opportunities when I was on my second rounds of E-1 thru E-4. Thank you for treating me like a human being. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in currently. I’m forever grateful and I promise to pass on those lessons taught to me.

Finally, I’m not saying for young troops to go out and get an NJP but for me; I earned my demotion and would never make those mistakes ever again but I also wouldn’t give up the lessons that I learned along the way.

November 16, 2023

Posted to Social Media by
Kenny Bish

“You don’t belong in MY Air Force” 

That quote has burned a hole in my brain for almost 10 years now. My First Sergeant then took my badge and beret from me and shredded my beret. I constantly have a voice in my head telling me that I need to prove her wrong. So I go to NCOA, become flight leader, and even graduated as DG (but that’s because my flight elevated me.) As for that voice, it still hasn’t left. 

For those going through the NJP process or those just going through that low in your life. I've been where you are. I've fought those internal battles. I learned one crucial lesson: Resilience isn't about not having doubts; it's about facing them head-on and not backing down.

Now you can either give up or you push through it and share your story. 

You are stronger than you think. That voice inside you is just a voice. Your actions, your will, your determination…that's what defines you.

Give purpose to what you're experiencing instead of looking at it like it's an anchor tied around your feet, dragging you to the deepest parts of the ocean.

“No one cares” is something I said to myself, when really I was just tapping into my suppressed potential.

If you want to tap into your true potential, get out there and start sharing with the world that you exist.

You might be surprised by what happens.

November 16, 2023

Posted to Social Media by
CMSgt Chad VanCleave-Goff

I had the honor of being the class mentor and guest speaker for our Kisling NCO Academy (Class 24-1) and it afforded me the supreme privilege of meeting TSgt Kenneth “Kenny” Bish, a fellow Defender stationed at RAF Croughton, England. In the future when I think of resilience and an example of what it means to tackle adversity and bounce back, Kenny will definitely come to the front of my mind. When he felt like the world was on his shoulders after losing “multiple” ranks due to poor mistakes and shortfalls, he had a choice to make; give up and quit the Air Force, or grab the bull of adversity by the horns and tackle it. I am glad he chose to tackle it and not give up. He chose to learn from his failures and bounce back. His story is inspiring and undoubtedly will be a change agent for any of our Airmen who may feel like throwing in the towel. Today, Kenny earned the title of “Distinguished Graduate” from NCOA. Well deserved!!!

Kenny, thanks for not giving up and for sharing your story and inspiring this Defender Chief. Your story is sure to impact many not only across Defender Nation but our entire United States Air Force. Thank you for leading and staying strong through some of your darkest days. 

Proud of you, brother! HUA! Congratulations, Defender!!!

I realized that the past failures had strengthened me, taught me that no one is immune from mistakes.

True leaders must learn from
their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision.
You can’t avoid The Circus.
 At some point we all make the list.
 Don’t be afraid of The Circus.

- Admiral William H. McRaven