Reflections as a member of the Air Force family

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Harry McLane
  • Retired
I write this article as a member of the Whiteman Chiefs Group, which I, am so very privileged to be part of. I have been retired since January 1994, and would like to share with you some reflections on being part of the Air Force family. 

For each of us that have been part of the Air Force, regardless of the time served, the memories, relationships and experiences will last a life time and will have a profound effect on what type of person we become later in life.

My time in the Air Force was December 1963 - January 1994, thus I served in Viet Nam early in my career, and in Desert Storm near the end. In Viet Nam, with the 12th TAC Fighter Wing at Phu Cat Air Base where it was very hot, and During Desert Storm, assigned to HQ SAC Propulsion and was deployed to where I found out exactly where Diego Garcia was in the Indian Ocean, and how really, really hot it was there. 

More importantly, the experiences, and the lessons I learned at those locations, under those conditions cannot be learned from any book, and will last forever.

I began my Air Force career as a Jet Engine Mechanic in 1964, and was stationed at the former Richards-Gebaur AFB, Mo. just south of Kansas City. The Propulsion Branch Chief was Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Doss. 

After my 30 year Air Force career, and 45 years later, I still regard him as the finest non-commissioned officer that I have ever known. His professionalism, integrity and organizational skills became the foundation of my own management philosophy. 

We lost track of each other for many years until recently. We now stay in touch via email, and it seems I am still learning from him. He just completed another season with AARP, assisting the poor and elderly with their tax returns. Chief Doss is 82 years young.

There is an old saying that I firmly believe to be true. "What goes around comes around". Recently, I read in the Whiteman Warrior article on the B-2 dedicated crew chiefs. It brought back old memories for me of back in the 1970's, at Griffiss AFB, NY, when I, as an Aircraft Flight Chief in a F-106 Squadron, was part of reviving that same tradition, and working through the process of selecting the deserving crew chiefs. Congratulations to those 13 very deserving B-2 crew chiefs. It is an accomplishment you will never forget.

For those of you still active duty Air Force, as well as the members of the Air Force Reserve 442nd Fighter Wing, and the Air National Guard 131st BW, this is your time, enjoy life, live the moments, and seize the opportunities.

To everyone that is part of the Air Force family, Active Duty, ANG, AFR, and retired members, thank you for all that you do and have done for our country, and God Bless all of you.