Chief Master Sgt. Dan Asher (then master sergeant) poses with his brothers who also have made the Air Force their career. Asher retires from the 932nd Airlift Wing this month, capping a 30-year career in the Air Force. (Courtesy photo)
4/14/2012 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill -- Editor's note: Chief Master Sgt. Dan Asher retires this month from the 932nd Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve, capping a proud 30-year military career. He shares some parting thoughts with his fellow Citizen Airmen as he walks out the door. 1. When did you join the Air Force? (and why did you decide to join the military?)
I joined the Air Force (active duty) in February 1981 under the delayed enlistment program and departed for basic training on June 16, 1981. After completion of basic training I was assigned as a crew chief in the Airlift/Bombardment Aircraft Maintenance career field. After five weeks of technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, I was permanently assigned to the 375th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Scott AFB, Ill. After five years 11 months, on May 21, 1987, I was honorably discharged under a hardship discharge due to medical issues with my father.
I decided to join the Air Force because my heart was not into continuing the family farm and I had no desire to work in the factory environment. I was exposed to the AF when my older brother entered the service and was stationed at Wright Patterson AFB. I got my first whiff of jet fuel and I believe I was hooked.
I entered the Air Force without a guaranteed job and was placed in the open maintenance category (heavy equipment, automotive, aircraft, etc) where I was fortunate enough to be assigned into the aircraft maintenance field.
2. When did you join the 932nd AW? On Sept. 3 1987, five months after my discharge from active duty. I was able to join the 932d Maintenance Squadron as an Air Reserve Technician. I would remain in this position performing several roles such as flightline expediter, shift chief, and dedicated crew chief for aircraft C-9A 10959 and 22584. I also augmented the 375th Logistics Support Squadron (active duty), Maintenance Qualification Training Program as a maintenance instructor for three years.
3. What is your official retirement date? (also, how many total years of
service will you have?) I officially retire on 30 April 2012 which will close out a 30 year career within the aircraft maintenance career field.
4. What type of jobs have you held while at the 932nd MXS? Crew Chief, expediter, maintenance instructor, production supervisor, flight mechanic, flying crew chief, production superintendent, and finally maintenance group superintendent.
5. How has the Reserve changed over the years? Increased requirements to mirror our active duty counterparts. Unlimited BX and commissary access, It may seem petty, but as a young airman those changes was the difference of how far your dollar would go with purchasing groceries.
ID cards that no longer identifies us as reservist but as uniformed services.
The biggest change for the 932nd AW was to be assigned as unit equipped. I do miss working with the active duty airman during our associate relationship, but being totally dependent on our own manpower was challenging and rewarding.
6. Which person had the most positive, lasting effect on your military career?
I have had many mentors, I believe I've learned from many individuals from airman to four-star generals. However, if I had to pick one person, I believe I would have to pick retired Chief Master Sgt. George Elder. We have had many discussions regarding the objectives and goals of the unit as well as who is being developed to accept future supervisory roles. I continue to work with George as a mechanic with the Scott Aero Club.
7. Since you spent many years during the C-9A aerovac era, what mission or event stands out the most to you? It would have to be the role we played during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. I was the flight mechanic on the last airplane deployed to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., to assist with casualty transportation. The entire flight was quiet regarding radio traffic at all points of the flight. We also witnessed the burning of the Pentagon as we made our approach into Andrews. It was a very somber flight!
8. What will you miss most about the 932nd AW?
Most of all, I will miss the people who I have been long-time friends with. However, I 'm very fortunate to continue those relationships since I work on Scott and will cross the paths of those individuals on a routine basis. But definitely the people!
9. If you could do one part of your military career over, what would it be?
I wished I would've started flying as a mechanic while I was on active duty during the peak period of the aero medical evacuation era.
10. What are you plans following retirement? I plan on spending more time with my family traveling and taking more weekend trips on our motorcycle.