A 2011 graduate of Nevada High School, Andrew Murphy, Jr., (named after his father) was born on an Air Force base and, “Where is he now?” as this Where Are They Now series asks — he’s working on another Air Force base.

“I was born on Offut Air Force Base in Nebraska,” Murphy, now 25, said. Today, as an radio frequency communications technician for the Air Force, he’s stationed outside of Las Vegas, Nev., on Creech AFB.

The Air Force wasn’t his first thought after high school, however.

“I went to DMACC for a year and did OK at first. But in the second semester, I lost motivation and my grades began to suffer,” Murphy said. “I finished the year with grades that ranged from good to downright embarrassing, and didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself after that.”

Murphy knew that his older half-brother was sent to the Marine Corps after spending an entire year at Iowa State, “slacking off instead of studying,” so he began to fear that he’d be shoved in that direction as well.

He decided to beat his parents to the punch. His father had recommended that he join the Air Force at one point in time, and the more he thought about that, the more intrigued he was by the idea. His dad thought the Air Force would be a good match for his son because of its technical occupations, and the more the younger Murphy mulled it over, “the more I liked it,” he said.

So he joined in 2013. His favorite part about his current post, he said, “are the times when I can go out to some equipment with a Technical Orders book, a toolbox and all the time in the world, and just let my mind do its thing as I troubleshoot and explore the systems.” Sadly, he admitted, getting that kind of time doesn’t happen as often as he’d like.

The Air Force has been a challenging environment for Murphy in many ways. “I don’t warm up to new people very quickly, so to this day it’s been difficult making close friends,” he said. And he doesn’t hide the fact that he’s challenged a bit when it comes to motivation. “Basically, the only reason I get out of bed and do anything in the morning is because ‘I’ll get in trouble if I don’t,’” he said. So being away from home in a very strict environment was challenging, even if it has been good for him.

Murphy thinks back to times in Nevada and things he overcame from his childhood. “I had almost no sense of humor and a tendency to take things too seriously,” he said. “Treating something as a threat that isn’t — one can do a lot more harm than good.” He’s thankful for the people in Nevada, like his parents, Andy and Shelley; his sister, Katie; more Nevada school teachers than he can count; and some great close friends, for helping him through his challenges.

“Thankfully, my family still lives in the area and most of my close friends are still around, so it’s great to come back and hang out with them again,” he said. He usually gets back about twice a year, and was back for a short time earlier this summer.

“I always loved this town, because it seems just right. It’s not in the middle of a dirty, noisy urban area, but also not in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, I could see myself coming back to live here some day,” he said.

His memories of Nevada include going to the cafeteria in the morning before classes and playing Mario Kart DS with his friends. He also remembers things like the Lincoln Highway Days parade and carnival, as well as the years he spent in Boy Scouts.

When he’s not working, Murphy’s time is spent doing things he enjoys, like playing piano, listening to and making music, playing video games and taking in cars. “I’m a huge car nerd. I actually own two sports cars, a 2001 Mazda Miata and a 2015 Scion FR-S,” he said.

As for his future, Murphy said he’s on the fence about how long he’ll be in the Air Force. “There are a lot of great benefits that go along with what I do, but I also have very limited control over what kind of work I do and where I do it… That said, I’ve come to realize that I need to have some kind of plan in place before my six years are up — otherwise I could be setting myself up for failure.”