Senior Software Engineer John Kirchner disappointed his father, a WWII Navy veteran, when he enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school. His father wasn’t disappointed that his son decided to serve his country, but he was upset that he didn’t join the Navy. Despite that initial disappointment, John’s dad has a great deal to be proud of about his son.
John joins the military
John joined the Air Force after graduating from high school in Tiffin, Ohio, where he was active duty for four years. His career path started with a test the military provides to identify strengths and weaknesses before making assignments. John scored very high in math and science, so he was assigned to electronics as an Avionics Specialist working on the Doppler Radar and Inertial Navigation system in military aircraft, such as A7-D Corsair, F-4 Phantom and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets.
Before completing his basic training, John filled out a “dream sheet” on where he would like to be stationed. He requested northern bases including Alaska and Europe, but was ultimately assigned to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona, which is stateside and about as far south as you can go. That is why it is call a “dream sheet.” Joining the military opened up many opportunities for John. After he finished his active duty he tinkered around with a few jobs, then went back to Ohio where he joined the Ohio Air National Guard (ANG). During his time in the guard, John used the military GI Bill and ANG College tuition program, along with working two jobs, to pay for his education at Bowling Green State University in Ohio where he earned his computer science degree.
One of John’s greatest memories of his time in the National Guard was his opportunity to travel to some really amazing locations. He had two deployments to Korea, and two in Panama where he flew the length of the canal in a Huey Helicopter. He also spent time in England, Japan, as well as several states in the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Michigan, Florida, and South Carolina, where he met his wife.
John finally retired from the military after 22 years of Active, Reserve and Air National Guard service (State: Arizona and Ohio). His final rank was Master Sergeant (E-7).
What the military taught John
If you talk to almost anyone that has served in the U.S. military, they will tell you that teamwork is the single most important thing to learn while you serve. It is all about your team and knowing that you have their back and they have yours – no one is left behind. John has applied this during his tenure at CORT over the last 10 years. “It is great being part of team at CORT, knowing that everyone is looking out for each other and will do whatever it takes to get the job done right,” said John.
Another thing John has learned is that if there is an issue, you always run it up the chain of command, respecting authority and respecting others. It is also important to own your mistakes and not blame others, because you will lose credibility and respect from your team, both in the military and civilian life.
According to John, joining the military was one of the best experiences in his life, even though his father was not happy with his choice on which branch he served. However, John’s dad got a bit of payback when John told his own son to join the military, but not to join the Army or Marines. What did John’s son do? He enlisted in the Marines!
Thank you, John, for your service!