Civilian veterans: continuing to serve

  • Published
  • By By 2nd Lt. Benjamin Aronson
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

For many veterans, their service is completed when they retire from the military, but for some retired military members, they continue to serve as civilians. 

The Air Force employs more than 170,000 civilians in more than 600 job positions and helps support active duty, guard, and reserve components. 

“I chose to work for the Air Force after retiring because of the opportunities, the challenges, opportunities to travel, and to continue what I did while on active duty,” said Bradley Hebbing, 647th Force Support Squadron manpower management analyst. 

Hebbing started as a missile launch officer, but transitioned to manpower throughout his career, before retiring in 2009. Hebing’s career took him to stations such as the Air Force Academy, Spangdahlem, and NATO. 

Hebbing credits the Air Force with giving him the opportunity to be creative and innovative, specifically with implementing ideas involving how to lead others. 

“What I like about the Air Force is that you know where people have come from, unlike in the civilian world,” said Hebbing. “You have a general that used to be a lieutenant or a chief that used to be an Airman. The people you work with have walked in the shoes of people in their profession.” 

Rebecca Pash, Pacific Air Forces Protocol Office lodging specialist, chose to continue her service in the Air Force after serving 20 years as a security forces Airman. Pash planned and executed many events as a senior non-commissioned officer and was drawn to protocol from her experience. 

“I missed being an Airman,” said Pash. “When you work in the civilian sector, the relationships aren't the same as on active duty, everyone is family in the Air Force.” 

Pash explains that Air Force veterans are Americans who believe in the core values, are well rounded, and believe in doing the right thing. 

Along with serving as an Air Force civilian, Pash works and participates in Miss Veteran America, an organization that supports female veteran’s transition to the civilian sector. 

T.J. Jurado, 647th Force Support Squadron Force Development Flight education services specialist, helps Airmen continue their education and earn degrees to better themselves and also help prepare for a post-Air Force career. 

Jurado served 23 years as an intelligence Airman, but always had an interest in customer service and helping out his fellow Airmen become better. 

“Look into what you want to do before you retire so you can learn what you need to acquire before getting out,” said Jurado. “Education plays a key role in getting a job after the Air Force.”

All three veterans miss the direct impact that they had on the mission and Airmen while serving on active duty but find continuing their service as civilians helps move the Air Force forward. 

“I enjoy the Air Force because I gave a lot of my life to it,” said Hebbing. “I had a lot of tough times, good times, accomplishments, and failures. Along the way, I put a lot of emotion into the Air Force so that when an opportunity came to continue to be a part of an organization that I put so much into, I took it.”