A galaxy far, far away...

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Boutte
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Even the littlest things we encounter as a child can have an effect on our lives as we grow older.

Master Sgt. Kenneth Hampton, 509th Medical Group NCO-in-charge of education and training, crafts custom light sabers in his spare time.

"I saw "Star Wars" for the first time in theaters in the summer of 1977, when I was 7 years old," Hampton said. "I have seen every theatrical release since to include going to a movie theater in Turkey to see Episode III."

Covered in "Star Wars" merchandise, his desk symbolizes his admiration for the movie and the craft behind it.

"I have always wanted to have a realistic lightsaber of my own," he said. "I looked around and found that the affordable sabers looked too simple and the beautifully handcrafted sabers either weren't for sale or they were too expensive."

Hampton started building his own lightsaber, 'Transparency,' in February 2013.

"I started with 'Transparency,'" he said. "I sat down at my computer and sketched out ideas. I only knew a few things for sure; I wanted a very particular shape and a crystal chamber similar to one I had seen in the movies, but I had no real idea how I was going to pull it off."

Hampton researched online and started formulating his plan. He didn't want it to look like an existing lightsaber; he wanted it to be a one-of-a-kind.

"I have adopted that philosophy for all of my builds as well," Hampton said. "I will never duplicate a design or replicate an existing lightsaber. I might re-imagine a design, but at the end of the day, every customer gets a lightsaber like no one else in the world will ever have."

Hampton doesn't do it for the money, but for the love of the craft.

"I pour my heart, soul and passion into each design," he said. "I have enlisted some help, though. My daughter, Allie, recently graduated high school and will take over some administrative things for me."

Allie got her first lightsaber, 'Crucible' when she was 17 years old.

"I name most of the lightsabers I make," he said. "I chose the name, 'Crucible,' for my daughter's because she is leaving childhood and going through adulthood. It seemed to fit."

Allie and her dad are interested in the same things; there was no surprise when she accepted the challenge to help her.

"I am a nerd, just like my dad," Allie said. "I love "Star Wars" just as much and when I heard he was thinking about making this into a business I knew I wanted in."

Hampton also shares his knowledge with a few apprentices who want to learn what he does.

Although Hampton does this in his spare time, he hopes one day he can make a good living doing what he loves most.

"In a couple of years I will retire from the Air Force and if I can make a decent living building light sabers full-time, I will be a very happy man," he said.