December 2018 Veteran Spotlight: Richard Burgard

Rick Burgard, while serving  in the US Air Force.
Rick Burgard, while serving
in the US Air Force.

While we celebrate the joys of the holiday season this month, VMSI also honors Richard Burgard for our December VetSpot!

  • Name: Richard Burgard
  • Rank: Captain
  • Branch: United States Air Force
  • Years of Service: 15.5 years

With both parents having served in the US Navy during WWII as well as his brother retiring from the US Air Force, Rick has been influenced by the military all his life. Prior to his enlistment the draft had just been stopped; knowing there was a lack of volunteers Rick felt it was his civic duty to enlist and thus began his career with the US Air Force.

Rick held several jobs during his 15 years of service, starting as a Radio Communications Analyst and Security Specialist then a Civil Engineering Cost Accounting Specialist. Once commissioned, he supported Hospital Administration as a Patient Administration Officer, Squadron Section Commander, Budget Officer and Medical Readiness Officer. Regardless of the job he held, Rick appreciated having the ability to incorporate innovate solutions to various problems and many of his ideas have been utilized throughout the Air Force!

Rick enjoyed traveling to many memorable places during his service including Iraklion Air Station in Crete Greece as well as Lajes Field in Azores, Portugal. Working in Azores was especially a unique experience since it felt like he had stepped back in time 150 years. Modern technologies that we were accustomed to were not available to the locals, and in that moment, Rick admired their great appreciation for any act of kindness, small and large. Above all, Rick felt extremely fortunate to have his family with him throughout his travels and that was the most important and notable aspect of his tours.
Rick learned valuable skills, both professional and personal, throughout his time serving the US Air Force; he recommends these tips for anyone transitioning into civilian life:

  • You are not alone in this transaction; there are many others like you who have been through it and can help if asked.
  • If you have doubt about what to do next, ask yourself “how would I have done this in the service” and many times you are able to come up with a solution that will surprise those around you.
  • Don’t forget, your family is also transitioning, so it’s important to help each other out!

Thank you for your service Rick and for sharing your story with the #VMSIFamily!