Reflections on a nearly 40 year career

  • Published
  • By Col. Dennis Seymour
  • 927 Mission Support Group
Cold, nervous, and somewhat excited. But I was also ready.

It was Jan 1977 as I sat in the airport waiting for the plane to take me to Lackland AFB, TX for what the Air Force calls “Basic Training.” My recruiter Doug (Double) Decker told me the Air Force would teach all of us recruits how to work as a team. I thought: “That can’t be too hard.” I had been involved in sports teams my whole youthful life. My recruiter also told me to (1) Do what I was told and (2) Listen. It was Sergeants Brown and Perez who would meet us soon after we got off the bus. Then the yelling started. We were given green jackets and told to shut up…and listen. I’ve been listening ever since.

I have met so many great people through the years who have mentored me, inspired me, pushed me, and supported me. Many remain fast and loyal friends. The memories are strong and can never fade away. I don’t have the space to mention all of them here, but two in particular stand out. I met Jim Gennaro aka “Bigfoot” my first day of duty at the 919 SOG at Duke Field. He was a funny, talented NCO who ultimately retired as a Chief Master Sergeant. Jim was never too busy to answer my questions or show me the ropes. I hear about him from time to time, glad to report he is doing well. I hope I made you proud Chief.

Then there is Mark Kyle. He was a lieutenant colonel and I was a captain when we met at the 920th Rescue Squadron at Patrick AFB. All at once he was easy to be around but demanding to work for. Time and careers took us down different paths, but we always managed to keep in touch. He would later hire me as the A1 at Fourth Air Force, March Air Reserve Base, California where we tackled some extremely difficult command wide issues. I appreciated him trusting in me to get things done. I also knew he had my back. Thank you Major General, retired, Kyle.

Technology has overtaken every walk of life, and the military is no exception. Certainly nothing wrong with that, technology has its place. My advice to the younger troops is to embrace the technologies available to you. But never lose touch with the importance of personal contact, conversations, and just “palling” around. You can learn so much…by listening.

The American public consistently gives the military high marks for honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. It has been such an honor to serve alongside so many outstanding men and women. I have met presidents, generals, congressmen, athletes, and dignitaries in my Air Force career. But it is that tech sergeant who deploys for six months who I hold dear. Or the captain who has to leave his family just before Christmas to pull a 60 day short notice overseas tour. Or that senior master sergeant who tells his troops to go home, he’ll man the office until things quiet down. Those are my heroes, and there are none better.

My Air Force journey is coming to an end. I’m not real sure what the future holds. So once again I am nervous and somewhat excited.

But I am also ready.