The Aeronautical Center Celebrates Its Military Veterans
Vol.5 Issue 8
A sampling of 2019 Aeronautical Center Military Veterans

The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC) is very proud of its veteran population within the MMAC workforce. Nearly 1,200 veterans currently work at MMAC across a wide range of career fields and in all organizations. All five branches of the armed forces are represented: The United States Army, the United States Navy, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Air Force. These veterans bring their unique skillsets and the core values instilled by service in the Armed Forces and contribute heavily to the efforts and success of our federal workforce. This month is the perfect opportunity to showcase some stories of a few of our veteran employees.

Candace Cline – Financial Specialist, Enterprise Services Center (AMK-220) – United States Navy

Candace Cline, U.S. Navy

When I was in the 11th grade, I decided I would join the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC). Being eager to learn, I took four years of classes in just two years, and served as Executive Officer for a semester. I ended up joining the Navy mainly because I love the ocean. Ironically, out of my nearly 5 years of service, I was only on a ship for two weeks, sharing a mission with the Marines.

The time that I served in the Navy was from July 1998 to February 2003. The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) convinced me to go in without a rating or Military Occupation Specialty Code (MOS). During my first two years I worked with the Judge Advocate General’s Corp (JAG) office and then I tested into my rating of RPS (Religious Program Specialist), working as an assistant/bodyguard to the Chaplains. This was one of the highlights of my military career, helping the Chaplains fulfill their calling to serve and help people.

During my service time, I received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal for the work I accomplished in the Staff Judge Advocates Office. I do miss the work that I did, and would really love to do it again. I still hold the values of honor, courage, and commitment closely and live by those creeds every day. It was an honor to serve and protect our nation.

Justin Cockroft – Management and Program Analyst, Quality Systems Business & Resources Staff (AMC-3) – United States Air Force

Justin Cockroft, U.S. Air Force

My military journey began on January 29, 2016, when I swore my oath of enlistment and joined as a Reservist in the United States Air Force. I was not your traditional young, fresh-from-high-school kind of recruit: I was 33 years old, married, with three children. But I was in a place in my life and career that I knew it was "now or never!" I was ready for a change, ready for an adventure, and I didn’t want that adventure to pass me by due to a cut-off age. After graduating BMT, I completed further training in Logistics Planning and then joined my squadron as a brand new logistics planner, or "loggie" as we are called. As a logistics planner, I helped deploy our troops and equipment worldwide in support of numerous missions and training exercises. Additionally, I was on the front lines of overseeing the readiness of our Wing to respond to any mission to which we were tasked.

In the almost 4 years that I have been serving, I have been privileged to work alongside some of the most incredible, high-caliber people. I have learned so much from their examples of leadership, mission focus, and true compassion for their people. The Air Force has opened so many doors of opportunity for me. Since joining, I have been able to grow in leadership and knowledge, which has assisted me in both my Air Force and FAA careers. Additionally, the Air Force helped me complete my Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership. I was selected for an officer’s commission in 2017 and on September 27, 2019, I graduated from Officer Training School as a 2nd Lieutenant. I now serve as Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Fuels Flight in my squadron.

I am only just beginning to write my Air Force story. I am thankful for all I have learned and experienced and I trust there are many more adventures ahead of me in serving my country.

Brian Hampton – Operations Management Branch Manager, Enterprise Services Center (AMK-220) – United States Marine Corps

Brian Hampton, U.S. Marines

My father was a big influence in my life. He was a survivor of three wars. He was in the Army Air Corps during World War II (where he endured being a prisoner of war). He was in the Marines and served in Korea and Vietnam. I chose to follow in his footsteps by joining the Marines. Another factor that influenced me toward a military career, was the ability of the Marines to help me in obtaining an education and providing financial support through the GI Bill. Upon joining, I was guaranteed a position in the electronics field, which eventually led me to earning my Associates, Bachelors and eventually a Master’s Degree.

I served in the Marines from August 1974 until July 1995. I entered boot camp the day that President Nixon resigned from Office. My initial job in the Marines was as a radio repairman. After 4 years and 4 months, I was promoted to SSGT (E6). I was stationed at a lot of unique places, including Marines Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego, where they train Marine recruits; Quantico, Virginia at Basic Officer School; and then I attended Communications Electronics School as an Instructor in 29 Palms California, traveling to Japan three different times, for a year at a time. Other locations where I was stationed include: Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Ft. Huachuca in Arizona, Fresno California, and Ft. Devens in Massachusetts.

The characteristics that I value most in being a Marine are integrity, camaraderie, organization, and discipline. Among the numerous letters of appreciation and Commanding General Accommodations I received during my career, I am most proud of the Navy/Marine Achievement medal and the Defense Meritorious Service medal that I earned. The military showed me that you can achieve anything you set your mind to. It gave me the confidence to push the limits, both physically and mentally. The word "can’t" is no longer in my vocabulary, and I enjoy pushing myself to see how far I can really go.

Christopher Sage – Supervisory Systems Accountant, Enterprise Services Center (AMK-214B) – United States Air Force

Christopher Sage, U.S. Air Force

It’s such a cliché, but it was the movie "Top Gun" that got me interested in military aircraft. I was 11 years old and decided to call the phone numbers on the full page advertisement of "Aim High" in Sports Illustrated. Recruiters sent me a bunch of U.S. Air Force pencils, pens and posters of USAF aircraft and told me to call back when I was 18. They must have put me on some list or something, because about six years later, the recruiters came knocking on my door when I was 17. Of course I immediately signed on the dotted line the summer before my senior year of high school. I began my career as an enlisted Airman Basic in the financial management career field progressing to the enlisted rank of Technical Sergeant. I was then commissioned as a Financial Management Officer and progressed to the rank of Captain. Within the past two years, I’ve changed jobs and I am now an Aeromedical Evacuation / Medical Service Corps Officer and Operations Flight Commander.

The mission and the people are always the most important aspects of the job. The Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron where I currently serve, exists to evacuate wounded soldiers, Marines, and Airmen from the battlefield to higher echelons of care, so the work that they do is extremely important and meaningful. The life experiences and leadership situations that you encounter in the military are unmatched in any other line of work. They teach you how to lead, inspire, and motivate people. I owe all of my success in this area to my experiences in observing outstanding leadership and putting it into practice. I also think that it’s important to give back to your country and community, so being a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard is a nice way of doing both of these things.

I owe everything in my life to my experience in the Air Force. It was the Air Force that set me on the path of being involved in Accounting and Finance, and it was also the Air Force that gave me the money to go to school to complete both an undergraduate and graduate degree. It was the Air Force that first hired me as a Federal Employee, which essentially means that I owe my current position, and all of the Federal positions I’ve held to being in the USAF. Most importantly, if it were not for the Air Force, I would not have met my wife Crystal, had my five children, and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t even be living in Oklahoma.

The Aeronautical Center recognizes the many individuals who served and continue to serve their country in the United States Armed Forces and also serve as public servants in the Federal Aviation Administration. We are grateful for their leadership, for their skills and expertise, for their example, and for the sacrifice they made for our country and our freedom.

Special appreciation to Candace Cline, Justin Cockroft, Brian Hampton, and Christopher Sage for sharing their military experiences with us.

Federal Aviation Aministration (FAA) seal