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Funny lady SrA Katy Bitz finds her home in the 142nd Wing

Funny lady SrA Katy Bitz finds her home in the 142nd Wing

Senior Airman Katy Bitz of the 142nd Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base, Ore. poses for a photo in Camas, Wash. Bitz is currently assigned to the Wing Headquarters as a Command Support Staff (CSS) member. She came to serve in the military later than most, but finally found her home in the Oregon Air National Guard. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Emily Moon)

PORTLAND, Ore. --

“Katy is one of the kindest souls I know, with such a bubbly personality,” said Senior Master Sgt. Shelly Davison of the 142nd Force Support Squadron. “She makes you smile every time you see her, she can light up a room.”

Everyone has gifts to share with the world, it just takes time to find the right fit. This rings true for Senior Airman Katy Bitz. Bitz had thought about joining the military soon after high school, but instead decided to venture off to New York City and try her hand at stand-up comedy.

Choosing to be a stand-up comedian over the military wasn’t a hard decision for her at the time. She was 18 and would choose fun over discipline any day at that age. She moved to Manhattan, got a job as a waitress, and found a studio apartment in the same day. The week after that, she found two very mediocre clubs that would take in a newbie. It was hard for her to balance three jobs at the time, especially since she had no experience with stand-up.

The struggle she had for the next nine months helped her understand that sometimes you need to fail to grow. She harnessed in all of her Mel Brooks, Steve Martin and Eddy Murphy comedy knowledge and gave it her best shot. However, the timing was wrong. She was too young, too inexperienced, and didn’t realize that all of her comedy heroes went to comedy school! Her biggest lesson learned from that experience was to prepare before you follow your dreams.

Bitz chose to come back to Oregon, where she is originally from. She ended up raising a family of two girls, and working as a Bartender for the Moda Center, (formerly known as the Rose Garden) for over nine years. Every job Katy has had, had something to do with customer service or helping people. Later, she got a job as a Patient Relations Representative at the Providence Medical Group for five years, but she felt like she just wasn’t able to move up with it.

Davison knew Katy through a family friend. One day they were at a party and Bitz mentioned to Davidson that she had always thought about joining the military, but she felt like she was too old. Davison knew that Bitz would be a great fit for the base and assured her that at 34, she was definitely not too old to join. After pondering the idea for a bit, Bitz thought, why not? and two weeks later, in August of 2016, she enlisted into the Portland Air National Guard and went off to Basic Training.

“The guard changed my life for sure, and I knew it would change hersʼ,” said Davison, “I knew right off the bat that she was going to be a full-time “lifer,” it’s just who she is, she has such a positive attitude.”

Bitz stated, “I feel like I have always preparing myself for the military and the timing was just always wrong until I enlisted in 2016. I worked night jobs on top of day jobs, which pushed me physically. I worked at a gasket shop as a sales person, which put me in a world I knew nothing about. I was a nanny, and had my own kids. I learned that no matter what, you take care of your own.

I’ve been on the path to join the guard my entire life. And it’s clear to me that the timing was finally right.”

Joining the military at the age of 34 made Bitz feel like it was her job to bring the younger enlisted Airmen up and take them under her wing. She helped the younger Airmen iron their uniforms and roll their socks. At one point one of the Airmen was really homesick and Bitz let her sit on her lap and gave her a hug, this earned her the nickname of “Mama Bitz.”

She now works as a Commander Support Staff (CSS) for 142nd Wing Headquarters so she can, “take care of the fleet,” Katy said. Being a mom and working in various forms of customer service throughout her life has prepared her for her current job, she said. She now works in customer service for the base.

“I’m just so proud, I never thought I would be able to do this,” said Bitz. “I just want to go above and beyond and always take care of people.”

Her love for comedy will never leave she said, it helps her relieve stress to get her through her day, and brings friends and coworkers together. However, Bitz now has a higher goal of continuing to help others, and to one day make Chief so she can make an even greater impact.