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Reid Ricks enjoyed his military service enough that he served in two branches — first in the Army, then as an officer in the Air Force. He retired as a captain in the Air Force.

After serving a mission to Central America and then graduating from Ricks College, Ricks enlisted in the Army in 1976 — just after the Vietnam War.

He became a medical corp. combat medic. He received advanced training at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center where he became a clinical specialist, which is like a licensed clinical nurse, he said. His first assignment was to newborn intensive care.

“I rather enjoyed it, to tell you the truth,” Ricks said, single at the time and 22. “It was a good experience.”

With that training, he was often called to assist in trauma or intensive care.

His next assignment was to Stuttgart, Germany, as part of the 32nd combat support hospital. A take-off of the {span}Mobile Army Surgical Hospital {/span}unit, it was a blow-up hospital called a MUST — mobile unit self-contained transportable.

“It was pretty fancy,” Ricks said.

He was stationed at the Kaffee Kaserne, an old German military base. While there, they maintained vehicles and trained at the local hospital as well. He finished out his four-year commitment to the Army there. Back home, he used the G.I. bill to get double degrees in business accounting and computer science from the University of Texas-El Paso, finishing in 1985.

He joined the ROTC and the Air Force and became a commissioned officer, second lieutenant, specializing in communications and computer training. He did training in Biloxi, Mississippi, and then was sent to Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked in computer support and software development with a mission to support the nuclear programs of the strategic air commands.

“That was an interesting time. We were into groundbreaking technology and stayed on top of technology,” Ricks said.

He worked with triad communications with the triad being land, air and sea. Ricks had lots of good experiences developing technology for hardware and software providers. He was at Strategic Air Command until after the first Gulf War concluded in 1991. He was told no money was available to move people around, so he had just purchased a house in Offutt. Then he was relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

There he worked at U.S. Space Command. He supported space programs and space exploration with NORAD. He sometimes worked out of Cheyenne Mountain.

“It was an interesting experience. I did a lot of command and control-related work,” he said. “I kept busy.”

After three years in Colorado stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, he was assigned to Korea with the 604th tactical air command squadron.

“We worked closely with our South Korean counterparts,” he said.

They coordinated with the Navy. One time he got to land on an aircraft carrier near South Korea.

“We hit the deck pretty hard. It was a controlled crash landing. We were facing backwards and had no windows. Even on takeoff — they catapult you off the deck — our arms and legs were straight out. The Navy guys try to make it interesting for those of us in the Air Force.”

One time, he visited the demilitarized zone — the DMZ — looking over into North Korea.

“There were soldiers in North Korea there keeping an eye on us. It was kind of spooky,” he said.

Not too long beforehand, the North Koreans had shot and killed some soldiers in the demilitarized zone, he said.

“Those people suffer a lot. Those folks have no freedom, and they desire freedom,” Ricks said of the North Koreans.

But he enjoyed getting to know his counterparts in South Korea — both in the military and in civilian life. He met many while being active in the church and he was able to go to the temple in Seoul. He spent a year in South Korea and cherishes those friendships. Then he returned to Colorado and NORAD U.S. Space command working in logistics and satellite communications development. He worked closely with many in Washington, D.C.

“That’s how I ended my Air Force career. I retired in 1996,” Ricks said.

After retirement, he went to work for a civilian contractor working at Cheyenne Mountain for a couple of years. For the last 25 years, he worked for Oracle, doing software support.

He was grateful for the military that provided an education and taught him the skills he has used throughout his career.

“It has been a blessing,” he said.

And he was grateful to be able to make a contribution to his country.

“I am proud to be an American,” he said. “The military has been good for me — especially the Air Force experience with computer software, and always looking for the best option. America — there is no place like us. For any young person looking for a career: look at the military, it has lots of good options.”