Member Profile Series: Eric / USAF

Member Profile Series: Eric / USAF

Can you give us a brief look at your service history?

I always wanted to serve in one way or another, I feel like it’s a responsibility that falls upon those who are able. I went into active duty Air Force after commissioning as a weather officer. Unfortunately my active duty career was cut quite short by a pretty bad car accident where I sustained some permanent injuries. I still deal with it every day but it could have been worse. You just deal with it and move on, and in a way I probably wouldn't have been able to experience some of the things I have been able to if I was still active duty.

What’s a story you’d like to share?

While I was in, it seemed like bad weather and natural disasters would follow me, everywhere I went. It all started with my TDY to Maxwell AFB, AL. The severe thunderstorm and deadly EF-5 tornado outbreak that wiped nearly half of Tuscaloosa, AL off of the map was one of the most horrible things my family and I have ever seen. Whole neighborhoods literally gone and all we could do to help was hand out food and water we had grabbed from the commissary. Returning from that TDY back to Hickam AFB, the night I landed was the night that the tsunami devastated Japan. I will never forget the guy next to me turning on his phone and saying Japan was just hit by a massive tsunami and that Honolulu and the other islands were expected to get some of the aftershock. We hadn't moved out there yet so it was just me in a hotel room, needless to say it was quite a challenge to get a ride into downtown Honolulu that night. I know a lot of my friends who were in the office had a long night and a long many weeks ahead of them due to the Fukushima nuclear reactor that partially melted down. Finally, on my last TDY to Keesler AFB, on the day of our class’s graduation Keesler had three tornadoes touch down on base. Sure, they were small, but it was still a freaky (and kinda awesome) coincidence. Those experiences really reminded me that however bad you think you have it, someone has it worse and to be thankful for what you have.

What have you been up to after your service?

Well, I pretty much went back into the military. I have a different specialty now and I no longer wear the uniform and I rock a beard, but I still try to do my part in service. I am a contractor now and for my work I am deployed most of the year which is something I might not have been able to do while I was on active duty. I love my job, but the only downside I have is that I am away from my family. It has been quite the ride, I have had some amazing experiences, and I’ve been all over the world and seen epic things and worked with some awesome people. I think what I love about my job the most is I get to help the guys and gals still doing the real hard work on the ground and I am able to directly see the impacts of my work. It is quite rewarding.

In these past years I have been all around the world, done all sorts of things, seen amazing and horrifying things that I will never forget. Really though, I don't think I have had my greatest journey yet, I think life in itself is the greatest journey.

Do you have a life motto?

When the good people at GovX asked me what my life's motto was, not gonna lie for some reason that scene from “Joe Dirt” popped into my head where he says “Life's a garden … dig It” (I laughed to myself for a few minutes in the MWR on camp, got some weird stares). But really to me “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is what I guess I would consider my motto. I think it's the best way to live your life and treat others.

What living person do you most admire?

It's hard to pick one person I admire the most, I would say I respect my brothers and sisters in arms. But the person I’d pick unfortunately passed away just recently: Louis “Zamp” Zamperini. His biography Unbroken, which was recently made into a movie, shows what he survived and the life he lived which absolutely floored me. I would also have to say my wife/best friend. She and our children are everything to me and remind me of why I do what I do every day.

If you could have your pick at six items here on the site, what would you choose?

As a sponsor of this Member Spotlight series, SPY was gracious enough to offer Eric a free pair of sunglasses of his choice. Here’s what he picked. Thanks for being awesome as usual, SPY.

Leave a comment:

Todd M.

2/17/2015 11:50 AM

HI Eric, Thanks for your service to our country and your story. I really like your life's motto! Enjoy the Shades and rock em with pride! All the Best, Todd Madsen of Spy

Eric S.

2/21/2015 6:20 PM

Thanks Todd Love all my SPY Shades I have had so far and look forward to these. Appreciate you and SPY lookin out for us! Thanks again! -Eric

Chris M.

2/18/2015 7:12 AM

From weather officer to contractor, it's not what you know but rather who you know. Thanks for sharing.

Eric S.

2/21/2015 6:26 PM

I know usually that's the case, my contractor job just randomly kind of found me. Thanks for reading!

jamie L.

2/19/2015 5:14 AM

Thanks for sharing! Enjoyed reading your story!

Eric S.

2/21/2015 6:27 PM

Glad you enjoyed, thanks for reading!

Trey B.

7/3/2015 7:35 AM

Thanks for still serving Bro... Watch your 6 out there.