GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. --
Friends, family, and Grissom Airmen crowded into the dining hall on Dec. 8 to witness the end of Chief Master Sgt. Will Somers’ 33 years of military service.
“Chief Somers is a doer who isn’t too proud to get into the trenches with his troops to get the job done,” said Lt. Col. Scott Uselding, 434th Force Support Squadron commander. “That can do attitude is so essential in Force Support.
“He is a rare breed, and we will miss him immensely,” Uselding added.
Though he is hanging up his uniform, Somers, who spent 27 of his 33 years at Grissom, will continue to serve the base in a civilian capacity.
“I’m retiring but I’m not going anywhere,” said Somers. “I’ll still be right here.”
Many things led to Somers spending the large majority of his career at Grissom, but the people around him were perhaps the biggest factor, he said.
“This is where my family is, and it’s also where my military family is,” said Somers. “I’ve watched so many young Airmen grow here, I’ve seen them raise kids, and now some of their kids even have kids.
“It also helps that I love my job,” he added.
Loving his job and the people around him, Somers said, was the key to his career success.
“I never strove for rank,” he said. “I think these days there’s a tendency to focus on what’s going to get that next promotion, but for me it’s more important to focus on what you can do for your people.
“The people you lead are the ones who are going to make or break you,” he continued. “Don’t step on those people to get ahead because you’re going to get further with them supporting you.”
During his 33 years of service, Somers stayed with Force Support the entire time. He began his career in 1986 at Buchel Air Force Base, Germany as a cook.
Due to the miniscule size of the force stationed at Buchel, Somers was also trained to disarm the base’s nuclear weapons should the base ever come under attack.
Somers deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield in 1990, before being relocated to Cairo, and finally returning to Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas. When Bergstrom closed in 1991, Somers chose to return home to Logansport, Ind., and joined the 434th Services Flight.
Since then, Somers has led many deployments to locations around the world, including deploying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in his final year of service.
“I’ve met so many amazing people along the way, some of whom I’ve grown closer with than maybe even some members of my own family,” Somers said. “It’s the sort of thing where you meet them again 10 years later and pick up right where you left off, and that comradery is what made it all worth it.”
The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Men and women from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.
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