Dan Carl, USAF (Missouri Air National Guard) 1993-2014
All right, I’m Dan Carl, from Mount Vernon, Missouri, always interested in serving in the military. I actually joined the Missouri Air National Guard in 1993. And, that’s located up at St. Joseph, Missouri. I was affiliated with the Missouri Air National Guard for the next 21 years. So I retired in 2014 as a Lieutenant Colonel.
So, it was 21 years up there, mostly as a part-timer, active duty for training, and active duty periodically for various trips. And then, we got activated a few times for the war on terrorism, starting in 2003, but I was involved with the operations in Kosovo in the late ‘90s, Bosnia, as well. But, the first 10 years was primarily peacetime. The last 10 years was primarily wartime, so that was an interesting split for me. The last 10 years was a series of, of deployments. The guard units would deploy together, along with the active duty and reserve units.
We deployed to Iraq for Iraqi freedom, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, for Enduring Freedom, and that’s still an ongoing thing. My unit still does that in a rotation even though I’m retired. I’m done with it.
I was a pilot. I was a C-130 pilot. We fly C-130s in St. Joe, with the Missouri Guard. And, I did that my whole career. The same airplanes. Um, retired. I was an instructor up there, lieutenant colonel. That’s pretty much what I did my whole career.
I joined the military for, probably like a lot of people, for idealistic reasons, as well as personal reasons. I did want to serve my country. I did feel a desire to serve my country, and very proud of my country. And, it’s a family tradition. My father was in the Navy, and my older sister had been in the Air Force, and both my grandparents, grand-dads, were in the military, as well. So, it was kind of a family tradition.
It’s also a good, good thing for me. I wanted to learn how to fly. So, it was not totally selfless. I got training out of the deal, and that worked out pretty well for me. I currently am a commercial airline pilot. So, it affected my life very significantly, in every way. It allowed me to get started with my career. Made a lot of good friends there and actually met my wife there.
So, a bit on that, on that story, in 2003, we were activated. We were sent to a place called Tabuk, in Saudi Arabia, for support of Iraqi Freedom, which was just about to start. But, it was a fairly remote base, at least by Air Force standards. They had set up a, a communications tent, an internet tent. It was about 3,000 people, as I recall, on this base, and they had about 20 computers. So, you were allotted maybe 10 minutes to, to use them, and it took a couple hours of a wait to get on the, on the computers.
Anyway, one day I did that. I waited my turn, and I finally got to the computer, and it was a very slow connection, as you can imagine. I had a, going through my emails, I had an email from John Davy, General John Davy, who I had known the name. He was a friend of my father’s. They had served together in Vietnam. Anyway, so I had never really met him, but I knew the name, and I clicked on it, and, I was about to delete it, because it was a very, he had included a picture with it, but I let it, I let it download. Anyway, it was a picture of Beth. And, he said, “This is my daughter. I think she’s in the same place where you are. You should look her up. She’s a nurse. She’s with the clinic.”
So, I did, and ended up marrying her, so, that was kind of a fun story. They were, he was an Air Force pilot that had done an exchange tour with the Navy. And so, he was roommates with my dad on the ship in the Navy, so, that was that connection. So, during our wedding, it was kind of a squadron reunion for those guys.
So, that’s about it. I feel very proud of my service. I feel very proud of the military. I think it’s one of the great institutions in the world. I think it does a lot of good. It needs to be supported, for all veterans, you know, they’ve, many, many, veterans have seen a lot, a lot more action, and a lot more tough conditions than I ever did. My time was, was pretty good, and I’m proud of what I did, but I, I really feel proud to be, alongside the veterans that really saw the, the real service, World War II, and Vietnam, and, and really all the wars, but, I’m proud to be a vet, and I definitely would do it again.