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NEWS | Feb. 12, 2015

Experiencing the world through different eyes—night eyes

By Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

This past week, I took on a new shift--trading in my daytime hours for nighttime ops, as part of the Public Affairs 'Night Week' campaign. During this week, I met with individuals from many units throughout Joint Base Charleston to learn a little about their mission, how they operate and to get their views on working those vital night shifts that keep our mission running.

This experience has been quite an eye opener for me. It was the first time I have interacted with swing and mid shifters in what, to them, is their normal environment. They don't get the same luxuries us day shifters do. Simple things such as socialization outside work, hobbies and recreation become real challenges for people on night shift. And then there is the challenge for those with families at home, who won't see their loved ones as often as they would like. Working mids and swings truly alters your life!

All sacrifices aside, working the night shift is something to be proud of. Whether they are guarding the gate as a frontline defender or preparing hundreds of meals for flight line personnel, each person on night shift has a hand in JB Charleston's mission. These are the nighttime warriors who keep the mission going after dark, while the rest of us are lying warm in bed.

Throughout the week I have been asking Airmen and Sailors to offer advice for newcomers to swings or mids like myself. I was able to narrow down their tips into these four categories.


Getting Sleep

Obviously, one of the biggest challenges is getting sufficient sleep. Unlike the rest of the world, you wake up just before the sun goes down and go home when it comes up. Making your sleep schedule as normal as possible is vital. Cutting all the light in your room helps with this. Seeing light makes our bodies want to wake up. Let your roommates or family know when you need to sleep so they can respect your request.

Having a Schedule

The number one thing that helped me going through this night week was having a plan. Knowing when to sleep, eat and wake up let me plan out my week far ahead and set me up for success.


Keeping up with your body's health is imperative when working the night shift. Whether it be knocking out some push-ups and sit-ups in your dorm room or visiting a gym, you should always make time for exercising. Upholding a fitness standard is one of our prime military duties.

Eating Well

Let's face it: there just aren't as many places to eat at night as there are during the day. Most establishments don't operate 24/7 except for a few fast-food chains and some superstores. Packing your own meals will save you money and you will eat much better. Packing a variety of foods will help deter you from the temptation of eating out. And don't forget to stay hydrated!


While some of us may prefer to think we're night owls and can be productive at night, it's a whole other story when you have to do it for work. It's definitely not for everyone.

I am glad I had the opportunity to get a glimpse into working the night hours and have met many great Airmen and Sailors who were proud of what they do. I would like to thank all of you who make it possible to keep our mission operating 24/7. You guys are the real M.V.P.s.