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A little closer to home

  • Published
  • By By. Staff Sgt. Ashley L. Gardner
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing/Public Affairs

For some, joining the Air Force at a young age may seem like the best or only option. Many fresh graduates are not ready for school and just want something to fulfill their purpose. Master Mgt. Donald McCormick, 379th Expeditionary Operation Support Squadron C-130 aircrew flight equipment section NCOIC, was one of those young high schoolers that chose to serve. Now 33 years later, he and his son are serving alongside each other at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.

Master Sgt. McCormick’s uncle, Air Force veteran, inspired him to join. After having talks with his uncle about the Air Force and how interesting it was, he decided to look into it.

“I didn’t have any job skills,” said Master Sgt. McCormick. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do to make a living, but knew I didn’t want to go to college.

He served on active duty for 11 years and during that time, he experienced so much.

“I was a young man and I went to Desert Storm, I’ve been in that long,” said Master Sgt. McCormick. “We worked all hours of the day and they would [fire scud missiles at] us. I didn’t sleep and every night it was the same thing. It’s a very psychological thing because of what went through my head at the time. My wife was pregnant with our first son and the thing I thought of was, I was going to be half of what I was before I left.”

After his experience on active duty and the birth of his third son, he decided to join the Air Force Reserves to be closer to family, where he has served 22 years. He needed something different but what he didn’t realize is that his son would follow in his footsteps.

Staff Sgt. Dillon McCormick, 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft electrician, and Master Sgt. Donald McCormick’s son initially decided to take a different route. When he graduated high school, went to college and not long after, he realized he wanted to give something else a try.

“I went to college but, it wasn’t something I was interested in at the time. I wanted to expand my options and join the military,” said Staff Sgt. McCormick. “My dad gave me the option, then took me around the base so I could see a couple of the jobs to help me make a decision.”

For the father and son duo, the experience of serving together has been very positive especially while being deployed.

“I would say the positives for me is knowing that I am doing something honorable for my myself, my family, friends, and my country and to know he is sharing that with me is an awesome feeling,” said Master Sgt. McCormick.

“I think it’s pretty cool especially for us to be here together, if either of us needs anything. It makes it a lot easier to be here, because you kind of feel closer to home,” said Staff Sgt. McCormick.