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Stories of Honor

Chad Eshelman

Chad Eshelman Air Force, 1992-2012

I was a crew chief in the Air Force from 1992-2012 and blessed to maintain aircraft with very unique missions like the U-2 reconnaissance plane and MH-53 and HH-60 helicopters (yes, the Air Force has helicopters).  At the time, I hated working on aircraft that were built in the ‘60s, but now that I look back it was an honor to be in a lineage that was a big part of history. The airframes I maintained had evacuated Saigon, supported the Apollo space missions, recovered bodies from the Jonestown massacre, liberated Panama, led the invasion into Iraq, performed peacekeeping in Bosnia & Kosovo, hunted Bin Laden in Afghanistan, rescued hundreds of combat troops and provided disaster relief at ground zero for 9/11 and Katrina.

My best memories weren’t really about the Air Force itself, but definitely the people I worked with, experiences I had, and places I was able to see. Same goes for here at PSA.

Interesting tidbit: I’ve flown on the helicopter from the opening scene of the first Transformers movie and the one that’s on display in the National Museum of the Air Force. 

Dan Kudrna

Dan Kudrna

Army, Active duty from 1994-2003. Indiana Army National Guard 2013-present

In May 1991, shortly after the end of Desert Storm, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf returned home to West Point to address the Corps of Cadets. As a young cadet, having the opportunity to hear a national hero speak about leadership was transformational. At the end of the night, word got around that Gen. Schwarzkopf was going to have a "spirit rally" outside the Superintendent's quarters. I donned my "rally" gear, grabbed my camera, and ran to the Supe's quarters with the hope of capturing this great man on camera. When I arrived, there were about 40 feet of cadets between me and the general. To my shock, I somehow ended up within a few feet of Gen. Schwarzkopf and asked someone, "If I get a chance, will you take a picture of us?" He agreed and a few seconds later, Gen. Schwarzkopf turned around and wrapped his massive arm around me.

A few months later, he returned to West Point for his reunion and I was able to get him to sign the print.

Rhonda Arnold

Rhonda Arnold Air Force, 1979-1999

I was in the US Air Force for 20 years. I retired in 1999 and thought I had quit flying forever. Some friends from my pilot training days (when this picture was taken) encouraged me to get back into flying after my three kids grew up and left me behind. I completed IOE in May and have been flying on the line since. I’m loving flying again!

Julie B. Moretto

Julie B Moretto Master Sergeant (MSgt) Retired, Air Force, July 1995-Nov 2015

My family has a long tradition of serving in the military in every branch of service. My grandfather served in the Army and received the Purple Heart in World War II. I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps and join the Air Force.

Although I was in the Air Force, the vast majority of my career I supported the Army. Those years are where my greatest memories were made. I was part of the initial push into Iraq in 2003 with the 3rd Infantry Division and I was the second female in Baghdad before the United States seized control. I am the only Air Force Airman to have gone through the Army Sergeant Major’s Non-Commissioned Officer Course, which was and still is such an honor.

Luis Sanabria

Luis A. Sanabria U.S. Army, 20 years of service

It was an Honor to serve with my brothers and sisters in arms. If I had the opportunity, I would do it all over again. I was deployed three times to Iraq, stationed in Europe, Virginia, Louisiana, Georgia and Oklahoma.

I have so many great stories from my time in the service. During my time as an instructor/Branch Chief in the NCO Academy in Fort Eustis, VA, we made a requirement for every class to do a volunteer project to give back to our community. During our off-duty time, we selected organizations to support and volunteered at a local school. We did food drives, Toys for Tots, Special Olympics and we also coordinated for our students to help at the school. The principal immediately accepted our offer. We briefed the students making the school an alternative for their volunteer project. We started going to the school and reading stories to the kids. We received them for the State test, lining up in uniform in the hallways, passing out pencils and wishing them good luck with the test. We made an obstacle course for them to have a Field Day and taught them Army physical training exercises. Serving our community this way gave me a different perspective of what it meant to be a soldier.