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, home builder, janitorial and custodial work, and (of course) at a McDonald's as a cook, cashier, and assistant manager. I left my last job (McDonald's) shortly before I graduated high school, from the Waltham High School, Waltham, Massachusetts (in 1980), and joined the US Air Force.
I enlisted 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!! 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, all based around the base in Lexington Massachusetts (Hanscom Field). So, I was promptly sent to Howard AFB, in the Panama Canal Zone. I was there from December 1980 through December 1983, through President Carter, the incidents in Granada, Honduras, and the Panama Canal itself.
Unable to stay there any longer, I asked for an assignment (again) to the East Coast, and was sent to Little Rock AFB! 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 did some studying in other career fields while at Little Rock Air Force Base (LRAFB), including the Office of Special Investigation, but was FINALLY able to change careers and began my NEW career as a Disaster Preparedness Technician. No more crappy 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...that lasted less than TWO years. Soon, we were absorbed into the big plans of the Air Force and also 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!!
We were commonly referred to as the "bugs and gas" guys. The closest thing I can explain it as, is 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 chemical, biological, and nuclear attack, contamination, survival, etc. Not a pleasant thought, but it was a reality in the military. Around 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. 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 either retired, or died. This was due to the urgent need, (later verified by the overall LACK of USAF preparation by Desert Shield/Desert Storm) to train Air Force personnel, by people in my career field.
Unfortunately, over time, the military had been through a LOT of changes (with more to come), many were NOT so pleasant, so I had 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 I was offered (and jumped on) the chance to retire early.
So, in 1995, I retired from the USAF, with 15 years and six days 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 applied for a new 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 moved up through the ranks and am still employed at the VA, but in the Office of Information Management, Little Rock Section, as a Computer Specialist, Research and Development, working in the PC Support Section.
My hobbies are basically computers (use, setup, and repair), fast vehicles, like my motorcycle and either one of my two super charged vehicles, stereo/electronics (movies and music), and reading (currently computer related, motorcycle related, stereo related, and a lot of Science Fiction).