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By Melanie Conner, APUS Alumni Affairs Liaison, and Daniel Torrio, AMU Graduate
Perseverance requires action and focus, despite what difficulties one may face. Technical Sergeant Daniel Torrio came from a troubled background that all too often leads to someone becoming a statistic.
Daniel was one of four children born to a single mother. Throughout his childhood, his mother struggled with an addiction to heroin. As a result, Daniel bounced from school to school, literally changing schools every year.
At the tender age of 13, Daniel unfortunately lost his mother to her heroin addiction. Despite all of the adversities and challenges Daniel faced, he was able to overcome them. With the support of a loving uncle and a friend, Christi (who would later become his wife), Daniel persevered with his education.
Daniel and Christi joined the United States Air Force in 2010 and Daniel began attending AMU shortly after joining the Air Force. He is a first-generation graduate who attended our 2018 Commencement ceremony, celebrating his accomplishment of earning his bachelor of arts in military history.
We asked Daniel to share his inspiring story with us and how his time at AMU helped him in his military career.
What have you been doing since you completed your bachelor’s degree from AMU?
Since the completion of my degree, I have continued to focus on my military career. Because there are 12 years remaining until I can retire, I am also continuing my education.
I have recently enrolled in a master’s program in history at Liberty University to continue my education. I hope to become a teacher when I retire from the Air Force.
What encouraged you to pursue a degree in history?
Since I was younger, I have loved history. When it came to finding a field of study, it seemed natural to study history.
After joining the Air Force, I found that I love and want to teach and lead people. With the military history degree I received and the military background I have, I have set up the foundations of my post-military career.
What is your current career?
My current career is serving as a Technical Sergeant in the Air Force. I am in charge of maintaining the C-17 Globemaster III, which is a multi-million dollar weapon system utilized by Air Mobility Command for rapid personnel and cargo deliveries around the world.
What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
After graduating from high school and starting the traditional college route, my wife and I were looking for something more. The Air Force was a good fit for both of us to continue our education and to provide the life we wanted to live. Being in the military allowed me to get more out of life by serving our great nation, and it allowed my wife to complete a bachelor’s degree as well.
Has the knowledge you acquired for your bachelor’s degree assisted you in the field?
Without a doubt, my degree has bettered me in my current career field. The advanced writing I learned from the courses I took at American Military University have proven invaluable.
As a Technical Sergeant, I do a lot a professional writing on a daily basis for work, such as annual performance reports, medal citations and quarterly awards packages. As I progress further up the ranks to the high echelons of the military, the need for professional writing will only increase.
In my current job, the improvement of my writing skills is the aspect of my military history degree that has proven to be the most valuable to my career.
What were the biggest challenges that you faced in your role?
The biggest challenges that I faced from work were the deployments and the multiple temporary duty assignments (TDYs) that I had to cope with while in school. One deployment took me away for six months.
The other TDYs were spread across three years and I was gone for approximately 450 days. Once again, American Military University was there to help me through the challenges. The willingness from AMU to work with me as a member of the Air Force was truly a game changer.
What advice do you have to give to people seeking a career in your field?
The biggest piece of advice I could give anyone who wants to pursue a degree in history is to read. Read as much history as you can.
Also, do whatever you have to do in order to increase your reading speed as well as increase your ability to retain the information that you read. In a single week, I faced as much as 400 pages of reading.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
To date, my greatest accomplishment is completing my bachelor of arts in military history. I have had some great success as a member of the United States Air Force; however, that success came because I was a part of a team.
My degree was accomplished by me and by me alone – and with a lot of encouragement from my amazing wife. I am the only person in my family to have ever completed a higher education degree and it truly feels amazing to have earned it.
What do you do in your free time?
I spend my free time reading. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, because I am a military history graduate. I did mention earlier that if anyone wants to study history, then reading is important.
I follow my own advice and I typically spend three to four hours a day reading. Whether it’s a paperback book, my Kindle or even just an article from one of my favorite websites, I spend a lot of time reading.
My most recent read was “Extreme Ownership” by former Navy SEAL officers Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It explains the need for discipline in one’s life and how this discipline will make you successful whether you are a military servicemember, a student or a CEO.