I was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, where I spent the first few years of my life. I then moved to Waltham, Massachusetts, where I stayed until I was 17, living mainly with my grandmother... During my youth I worked as a newspaper boy, construction, janitorial and custodial work, and (of course) at a McDonald's as a cook, cashier, and assistant manager. But while still working there I decided it would not be my long term goal, so I joined a friend and we took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to enlist in the Air Force together. We also joined on the Delayed Entry Program, at age 16, with our parents blessing. I left my last job (McDonald's) shortly before I graduated high school, Waltham High School, Waltham, Massachusetts (in 1980), and flew down to Texas after inprocessing to the US Air Force.
I originally enlisted in the military as a Nuclear Weapons Specialist (no kidding) and while on delayed entry, was told that the waiting list was about a year long. I asked what job specialties were open NOW, and shortly thereafter, I joined the US Air Force as a Security Policeman, Law Enforcement Specialist. That's right, Uncle Sam gave ME a gun, actually several guns, some of which were pretty big, and lots of training!! After completing six months of training in Texas, I was asked where I would LIKE to be stationed, so I asked for an assignment on the East Coast. I made 10 choices, with my first designated choice as Hanscom Field, Lexington, Massachusetts.
So, I was promptly sent to Howard AFB/Albrook Air Force Station (video from 2012), in the Panama Canal Zone. I was there from December 1980 through December 1983 (through Presidents Carter and Reagan). Although I would have stayed longer, I was denied the opportunity to stay there any longer by my commander, who told me I was having too much fun! So I again asked for an assignment to the East Coast.
And I was promptly sent to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas! I can recall to this day my amazement at being sent to an area I only knew from the history books as a place of racial strife and a backwoods lifestyle. I was mildly surprised to discover that Arkansas was not only hillbillies and rednecks... I spent several years in Law Enforcement here as well, but got bored with the mentality of my commanders and evaluated my options. I did some studying in other career fields while at Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB), including the Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI), but was FINALLY able to change careers and began my NEW career as a Disaster Preparedness (DP) Technician. No more crappy field exercises and work shifts for ME!!
My NEW job had no mobility positions, which meant I was safe within the confines of the Little Rock area, no more tours outside of the United States... Unfortunately that lasted less than TWO years, soon, we were also absorbed into the big plans of the Air Force and assigned to mobility positions, and over time I found myself deployed around the world, again...even working with those I had left behind years ago that were still in Law Enforcement!!
We were commonly referred to as the "bugs and gas" guys. The closest thing I can compare it to, would be the military version of civil defense. Although we (the military version) also had to deal with the things the military is trained for, in addition to the standard emergencies Civil Defense is trained for. Warfare. Conventional warfare, small arms, heavy weapons, aircraft, missiles, bombs; and then add in Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) warfare, contamination, survival, etc. Not a pleasant thought, but it was a reality in the military. In January of 1990, I completed my Associate's Degree in Applied Science (Disaster Preparedness related curriculum) in order to complete my military education requirements.
During this time, I was able to start progressing towards developing a background in Computer Operations/Technician related areas (self taught) and I worked hard to force the Air Force to allow another career change into Communications -- Computer Operations. I was able to fulfill all background requirements to allow me to obtain a secondary Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) in computer operations, and proceeded to obtain the education requirements. This was in additional to my normal day job. I completed over 44 hours of schooling towards my Associate's Degree in Information Services, Computer Operations.
Although I attempted to change career fields again, the USAF stated (in 1991) that I would be stuck in the DP career field until I retired...or died. Seriously, my hopes of leaving were cut off at the knees. So, this attempt to cross-train failed and the explanation I was given was due to the urgent need, (later verified by the overall LACK of USAF preparation in Desert Shield/Desert Storm) to continuer to train Air Force personnel in Readiness.
Over time, the military had been through a LOT of changes (with more to come), many were NOT so pleasant, so I decided that I was NOT going to stay nine more years in something I no longer wanted to do, or was happy doing. So, when the opportunity presented itself in 1994, I was offered (and jumped on) the chance to retire early.
So, in 1995, I retired from the U.S. Air Force (USAF), with 15 years and six days of Active Duty (15 years of service was the MINIMUM requirement), at the ripe old age of 33 (and five days). I had already obtained employment by a local information services company in Little Rock, performing duties as a computer technician. Nice rates, the company billed my time at around $100 per hour, minimum charge of ONE hour, for service calls.
While there I sought out other employment opportunities and after several interviews with different organinzations, I elected to take the one that paid less, but was closer to home and accepted a position at the Veterans Administration (VA). I started in the Acquisition and Materials Management Service, (A&MMS), in North Little Rock, on July 9, 1995, as a Computer Assistant. I've changed sections and jobs a few times, but stayed with Information Technology (IT), and have moved up through the pay grades, and am still employed at the VA.
In May 2016, as part of the MyVA Field Operations Transformation, I was “realigned” to the OI&T SDE Enterprise Service Lines, as part of a breakthrough priority established by the VA. This MyVA Transformation was being considered as an exciting, meaningful change for OI&T and the realignment of my position was just one of the steps necessary to ensure the appropriate processes, tools, and alignments were made to ensure its success. In the Office of Information & Technology (OI&T), Service Delivery and Engineering (SDE), Platforms and Operating Systems (POS), Little Rock Section, as an Information Technology (IT) Analyst.
So, in a nutshell, I've been in Federal Service for over 36 years:
- Military, retired through the TERA program in 1995, completing just over 15 years with the U.S. Air Force
Five years in Law Enforcement , primary duty, with secondary as Office of Special Investigations (OSI)
Cross trained into Disaster Preparedness, spent ten years with that as my primary duty, and secondary in small computer operations
The week after I retired, I then started with the DVA and have been here over 21 years, as:
A Computer Assistant, GS335-5
Moved to Computer Specialist, GS335-7 in 1996
Promoted to Computer Specialist, GS335-9
Promoted to Computer Specialist, 099790, GS335-11
I requested a desk audit in 2003 and upon completion, we received a reassignment to Information Technical Specialist (System Administration), GS2210-12
Was at the site when each still had Domain Administrator access…was part of the IT rights reduction throughout the IT range…
Have been a jack of all trades, master of none for quite some time, but have been adapting to computers since the mid 1980's, so why stop now?
My hobbies are basically taking pictures with film (cameras), computers, guns, fast vehicles, movies, music, and reading related magazines.