This week on the Soldier Salute, we’re talking to US Air Force Tech Sergeant Retired Dave Peacock. He has had an incredible career and served his country proudly – fulfilling a family tradition that goes back several generations.
“My grandfather was an Air Force drill instructor, my uncles were Army in Vietnam, my dad was Army, so I come from a very strong military background,” Peacock said. “So that kind of pushed me towards joining the military.”
Growing up in a military family shapes you. It instills certain values in you, that you in turn pass along to others. “I myself have tried to pass that on down, all throughout my career, you always mentor people,” Peacock explains. “My goal was always to have those under me take my job, I want them to become successful and do better than what I did.”
Peacock now has several people he mentored who are carrying the torch. “I have students that are now teaching in Afghanistan, they’re medics. I have people in Iraq that I helped mentor that are teaching in the medical field there,” he said. “So all in all, I’ve enjoyed passing that along. I feel it’s a great honor to be able to mentor the way I was mentored.”
Dave is a great story teller, reading these words without his inflection and dry humor doesn’t do the stories justice. For instance, he tells about getting called up for his second activation: “I was actually at Disney World enjoying myself and expecting a call from my best friend Dale at the time.” The phone does ring but it wasn’t who Dave was expecting. “Sergeant Peacock, this is Tech Sergeant Michelle Carpenter, be advised that you are hereby called to active duty,” he said.
This in itself has a bit of humor to it, but that isn’t all that was going on. “After she gives me the whole required spiel, she asks me, ‘Dave, where are you?’ I say to her I’m in Florida. She says, ‘What are you doing in Florida?’ I said I’m on my honeymoon, and all of a sudden all I hear is laughing.”
This isn’t uncommon in the military, we love to laugh at each other’s misery! We’re also always looking out for one another. “She says, ‘Hold on Peacock,’ and she took off to go talk to the commander and they actually gave me an extra two days to report,” he added.
Not every soldier, sailor, airman or marine gets to decide when they leave the military. Tech Sergeant Retired Dave Peacock was living the dream, making a difference in a job that he loved when his career came to an end because of an accident during a deployment.
“At about 22 years worth of time in I was flying a CSAR, Combat Search and Rescue mission, and unfortunately I didn’t have my helmet on. We were flying in a high risk area and our aircraft came under attack by an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade).” Peacock said. “The pilot did an evasive maneuver and I went straight forward, head-into the bulkhead, and then I came backwards and hit my head on the back on the floor of the helicopter.” This led to a TBI (traumatic brain injury), and thus careers are ended.
There’s so much more to Peacock’s story, including how he went from flight medic to search-and-rescue, more on his growing up, and some of the missions he flew during his time in uniform. Tune in this week to catch Dave’s story!