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Tag Archive | "Air Force"

Veteran retires from Air National Guard


 

SMSgt Shirley Mitchell (Bratcher)

By Judy Reed

When Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) Shirley Mitchell (Bratcher) thought about what she wanted to do after graduating from high school, she said she wanted to drive a semi truck like her father, and be a police officer, and be in the military. But how would she ever do all that? 

SMSgt Shirley Mitchell (Bratcher) and her brother, TSgt Brian Sherman, at the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek.

“It turns out, I did all three in my first job joining the military. I joined Security Forces and became a security policeman and learned to drive a big truck in a convoy. That’s all three into one!” said Shirley.

Shirley graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1983, and worked for eight years until she enlisted in the Michigan Air National Guard in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1991. She said members of her family inspired her to join—namely, her dad, who enlisted from 1960-1964, and her uncle, who served 32 years in the U.S. Air Force. When she was young, her family went to visit him and other family in Delaware. “He took me to an Air Show at Dover AFB,” she recalled. “It happened to be the Navy Blue Angels performing at that show. I was inspired by the air show and just the mere fact of being on a huge base. I just knew then I wanted to be a part of Air Force. It just felt right for me.”

 Her initial enlistment was a part time job in the Michigan Guard. Her first assignment was a Security Specialist in the 110 Security Forces Squadron. She became active guard reservist in April 1994 and was on an active duty assignment at Battle Creek. That remained her base throughout her 26-year career. 

“It’s a unique position to obtain one at an Air National Guard Base,” explained Shirley. “There are only so many per state and you have to compete (interview) for the position (job) you want. They are active duty positions that mean you serve both the state and federal government. With this type of position, you are able to complete 20 satisfactory years of service and earn the same benefits as other active duty personnel who serve the federal government only.”

The squadrons and positions she served in while stationed at Battle Creek are in the 110 Security Forces Squadron, as a Security Specialist; the 110 Fighter Wing as a Financial Comptroller and Superintendent; the 110 Medical Group as a Public Health Specialist; and 217 Operations Group as the Health Services Specialist Superintendent in the Air Components Operations Group, a Special Security Officer (SSO) in the 217 Air Intelligence Squadron, and then a Security Specialist/Anti -Terrorism Officer in the Air Components Operations Group.  At retirement, her final duty position was in the 110 Security Forces Squadron as a Security Specialist. 

While Shirley was never deployed to the desert, she did travel around the world and to other states. “I wanted to go [to the desert] but was fulltime and too valuable back at home station to be gone,” she explained. “At least, that’s what they told me.” She did get to go on temporary duty to places such as Germany; South Korea; Alaska; Hawaii; and many other continental United State states. “I joined the Air Force to travel, and I sure did!”

Shirley received several medals, ribbons and awards over the years, including the Meritorius Service Medal; Air Force Commendation medal; Air Force Achievement medal; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor; National Defense Service medal; Global War on Terrorism Medal; Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, and more.

Shirley said that the most important thing she learned while serving is that your attitude dictates everything. “It’s what you make of it. Meaning, if you dislike something or disliked being in the service, change your attitude and find the positive aspect so that you do like it. When I enlisted, I said, well, this could be the best six years of my life, or the worst. I would not know either unless I enlisted! Turns out, I loved being in the military (Air National Guard) and it was the best thing I ever did. Sure, there were some stressful times, but overall, it was the greatest thing I ever did. No regrets at all. I kept re-enlisting as I did spend 26 years and 5 months total time in service. I made many new lifetime friends and we will forever be bonded.” 

The Post asked Shirley if she had noticed any difference over time in the way women are treated in the military. “Yes, women are now allowed in some combat type positions and more robust traditional type male roles. The roles are changing right now and women are proving themselves that they can participate in a particular career field just like the men. Due to heightened awareness and mandatory trainings, women are now more than ever (and men too) encouraged to report sexual harassment or assaults. Reports are taken seriously and investigations are conducted. When I came in, women were not reporting issues as a fear of retribution. It has come a long way and getting much better to not fear this. Men will always support and assist women in some ways (let’s say with heavy lifting) as it is a team environment,” she explained.   

Shirley also had a few tips for other women (or even men) who might want to join. “If you are considering the military, think about what you may hope gain and leave with. As in, if you would like technological knowledge and plan to use it after you get out or while still serving (as a traditional guardsmen in the Air National Guard) in the civilian work force, join the Air National Guard or regular active duty Air Force. The Air National Guard is the Air Force, and most are part time members (one weekend a month traditionally).

“There are so many great opportunities and job skills that you can obtain in the Air National Guard and apply them on the outside. There are free college benefits and so many more offerings. Not to mention a lot of new friends and travel opportunities.”

While serving, Shirley earned four different Air Force Associate Degrees, and is now working on a Bachelor’s degree in Security Management with a concentration in Government Security. She plans to pursue a job with the Department of Defense as a Security Specialist.

Shirley may have retired from military service, but there is still another member of her family serving to carry on the legacy. Her brother, Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Brian Sherman is serving at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base at the 110 Civil Engineering Squadron as a Firefighter. He currently has 13 years in service. He is a 2000 graduate of Cedar Springs High School.

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Hometown Hero


 

U.S. Air Force Airman Joseph P. Sherman

U.S. Air Force Airman Joseph P. Sherman graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Sherman is the son of Robert and Lisetta Sherman of Cedar Springs, Mich. He is also the brother of Ashley Sherman.

Sherman is a 2015 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, Cedar Springs, Mich.

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DR. RICHARD FRANKLIN DODD


On April 2, 2018, Richard F. Dodd D.D.S., aged 84 years and 11 months, passed from his life on earth into the loving, healing arms of his Savior. He was born to Guy and Genevieve Dodd in Ludington Michigan on May 3, 1933. Following graduation from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Richard was commissioned in the USAF and served as Captain in the Air Defense Command. After active service in the Air Force, he established a private practice in Kent County Michigan. He served as a dentist in Cedar Springs for many years. During his professional life he also served the community as a member of the school board and in township government. At the age of forty, Dick began “an affair with the violin” that presented him with ample challenges for the rest of his life. At the age of 71 he moved with his wife of 55 years to Kalamazoo, Michigan and again three years later to Hartselle, Alabama, where they have lived since. He was an active member of First Baptist Church of Cedar Springs, Algoma Baptist, The Journey Church, First United Baptist Church of Kalamazoo and the First Baptist Church of Hartselle. Richard is survived by his loving wife, Rebecca; daughters, Julea (Kevin) Moats of Decatur, Alabama, Al and Amelia Denslow of Hartselle, Alabama; two grandchildren, Steven Dodd Denslow of Grand Rapids, Michigan and Victoria Denslow of Birmingham, Alabama; his brother Larry (Donna) Dodd of Traverse City, Michigan; brother-in-law Karl (Angie) DeVries of Grayling, Michigan; sisters-in-law Martha (Ray) Vandee Panne of Cedar Springs, Michigan; and several nieces and nephews, who all loved their “UncaDick”. He is interred at the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, Alabama.

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JOSEPH WATSON SR.


 

Joseph Franklin Watson Sr. “Joe or Pappy”, age 82 of Cedar Springs, passed away Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at Metron of Cedar Springs. Joe was born September 6, 1934 in Lexington, Virginia, the son of James and Melinda (McCormick) Watson. Joe served 10 years in the United States Air Force and 10 years in the Michigan National Guard. During his time served, Joe played minor league baseball for the Air Force. Joe had a heart for coaching and umpiring for the Little, Pony and Silver Baseball Leagues. Joe was a founding member of Cedar Springs Amateur Athletic Association, member of the Roundtable Coffee Drinkers, a Keystone Kop, and was the Grand Marshal of the 2012 Red Flannel Parade. Joe considered his greatest life achievement being a grandparent to 14 grandchildren. Surviving are his beloved wife, Florence E. (Clark) Watson; children, Joseph Michael Grove of Virginia, JeDonne (Jerry) Morton, Joseph (Connie) Watson Jr., Kelli Watson, Charlie (Ladonna) Watson, Merri (Rich) Moore; grandchildren, Steven, Megan, Hollie, Nick, Jake, Jeff, Chris, Mandi, Charli Anne, Ashley, Ricky, Elizabeth, Erin and Carlee; great grandchild, Addison; brother-in-law, Virgil R. (Sandie) James; sister-in-law, Mary Ellen (Melvin) Cole; brother-in-law, J. Thomas Bundy; many nephews, nieces and cousins who he adored; and friends that he loved as family. Joe was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, Mayhlon James “Tarzan” Watson, James Alexander Watson, Geraldine “Binky” Bundy, and Margarite “Moe” Sweeney; Nephew, James Alexander “Butch” Watson; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Charles O. and Mary (Caverly) Clark; brother-in-law, Herman O. Clark; and sisters-in-law, Maxine M. (Clark) Manteufel and Alice J. (Clark) Haubenstricker. The family will receive friends Saturday at 10 a.m. until time of service at 11a.m. at Solon Center Wesleyan Church, 15671 Algoma Ave. N.E., Cedar Springs, Pastor Larry Young officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Cedar Springs Veterans Park Fund.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs

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Hometown Hero


Brandon M. Empie

Brandon M. Empie, 23, a 2012 graduate of Tri County High School, is currently home on leave and took part in Memorial Day ceremonies with the Cedar Springs American Legion. He joined the Air Force almost five years ago on September 11, 2012. Brandon has served two years at Royal Air Force Mildenhall in England; was deployed from there to Arba Minch in Ethiopia for six months; and is currently stationed at Andrews Air Force base near Washington D.C.

Brandon is a security forces member and is certified as a response force leader.

He is the son of Matthew Empie and Jenifer Smigiel, and grandson of Rusch and Pat Merlington, and Don and Lucille Empie.

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Hometown Hero


 

Airman 1st Class Steven J. Brunni

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Steven J. Brunni graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training also earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Brunni is the son of William J. and Son Mi Brunni, and brother of Jonathan M. Brunni, all of Cedar Springs, Mich.

He is a 2011 graduate of Cedar Springs High School, Cedar Springs, Mich.

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CARL R. STRAUB


20C--obit-straubFC

Carl R. Straub, 72, of Cedar Springs, died Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at his home. Carl was born April 28, 1944 in Granada, Mississippi, the son of Herman and Marjorie (Egner) Straub. He graduated from Union High School in 1962. He then joined the Air Force serving from 1963-69. He settled in Cedar Springs in 1977 near the Egner Family Farm. Carl was a simple, stubborn man. He enjoyed his cars, guns, Gunsmoke reruns and spending time with his grandkids. He was one of a kind! Surviving are his wife, Marjorie (Race) whom he married on Feb. 27, 1965; sons, Carl Straub & Brynadette Powell, Richard & Carolyn Straub; grandchildren, Adrianna, Brooklyn, Caroline and Blake; brothers, William & Lenora Nawara, John Nawara; sister, JoAnne & Brian Ellis; brothers-in-law, Gordon & Shirley Race, Kenneth & Yvonne Race; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents. The family will greet friends Wednesday from 6-8 pm at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. Mass of Christian Burial will be Thursday 11:00 am at St. John Paul II Catholic Church, Cedar Springs. Rev. Fr. Lam Le celebrant. Private interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs.

Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home,
Cedar Springs

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The Post goes to Las Vegas


The Post traveled to Las Vegas on December 6, to celebrate Trevor and Alexander Hemry’s 21st birthdays. The brothers are graduates of the Cedar Springs High school class of 2011.

The trip consisted of two stops—The Strip, and a visit to Pawn Stars.

Trevor and Alex enjoyed the trip, as this was their first time flying. Seven other family members joined in on the fun, too. “Although the weather was in the 30s and 40s during the day, while we were there we still had fun sight seeing and participating in all of the activities Vegas has to offer,” said mom Jeanine Hemry.

One of the activities they wanted to do while in Vegas was to visit the famous Pawn Shop that is shown on the History channel. They were doing some filming at the time of their visit so they didn’t have the opportunity to meet any of the cast. They did however get a glimpse of Chumlee as he left the set.

As they prepared to return to the hotel, they were presented with an opportunity to ride in a 15-20 passenger Hummer Limousine.

This trip was special, since this was the first time all four brothers have been on a vacation together in over 10 years. “Life has a tendency to take family members down various paths and sometimes it becomes harder to get everyone together,” explained Jeanine. She said this was a trip to celebrate the milestone of turning 21 and a time of celebration as Alex is leaving in January to join the Air Force. We wish him the best! And thanks for taking the Post with you on your trip!

If readers are going on vacation, take a copy of the Post with you, snap a photo, and send it to us with some brief information to news@cedarspringspost.com.

 

 

 

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Hometown Hero


Air Force Airman Zachary T. Corcoran graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Corcoran is the son of Shawn Corcoran of Cedar Springs, Mich.

He is a 2010 graduate of East Anchorage High School, Ark.

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Hometown Hero


N-Hometown-Hero-Nagy-Samuel

Air Force Airman Samuel J. Nagy graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Nagy is the son of Richard Nagy of Newcosta Avenue, Sand Lake.

He is a 2012 graduate of Tri County High School, Howard City.

 

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