From planning to serve four years to Deputy Director of the Air National Guard. My guest, Maj Gen Dawne Deskins, this week didn’t want to join the military but needed a way to pay for college. Her dad said you only have to serve four years and then they will pay for your college. So she decided to join through ROTC. And 36 years later she is still in the Air Force.
Deputy Director of the Air National Guard
Maj Gen Dawne Deskins was planning to be a broadcast journalist as she prepared for college, but her parents didn’t have a way to pay for college. Her dad decided to fix the problem of getting college paid for by signing her up for the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program (ROTC). So, she was quite surprised when a Captain called her and told her about reporting to ROTC. She then called her dad and learned he had signed her up.
She agreed to ROTC so that she could get a scholarship. She would only have to serve four years and then she could go and be a broadcast journalist. The Air Force initially had her slated to serve as a Missler. But things were changing and they didn’t think they had enough women to man the two-man crews. So instead, she became an Air Weapons Controller (now know as Air Battle Manager).
She went to Tyndall AFB for school and ended up meeting her future husband. Their quick romance led them to get married before she moved to the next assignment which was in Washington at McChord AFB. She enjoyed her job and her husband eventually caught up with her in Washington and began going to school. While there she had her first child a son. Life was crazy being a mom, having her husband going to school, but it was her life and she didn’t know what else to expect.
From Active Duty to the Air National Guard
She stayed in the Air Force on active duty because she had the opportunity to go back to Florida to be an instructor. Her husband found a job in Florida and had graduated college so it worked well for them. At the 10-year point, she felt as though things were getting too complicated and she decided to separate. But she was curious about the National Guard and applied to serve in her home state of New York.
She ended getting a full-time role in the National Guard and found the stability she needed for her and her family to continue the serve. She was able to make it to the role of Commander and as she approached her high year tenure she started planning for retirement. But then she had the opportunity to come to DC for a one-year assignment and work on Military Sexual Trauma revisions. She also was promoted to Brigadier General.
She continued to serve one assignment after another and in 2018 she was selected to be a Major General. And in July of 2020 became the Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and is currently there today.
Mentioned in this Episode:
The First Women Thunderbird Pilot (Nicole Malowiski)
Brigadier General Wilma Vaught
Sharing the stories of military women (Maj Gen Mari Eder)
Serving in the Guard and Reserves
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