Jan Bell

Jan Bell

I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in March, 1970 and retired in May, 1996 with 26 years of military service. I never meant to stay in the military, but between doubling my remaining time to opt out of active duty into the Air National Guard, scholarships, new positions, and promotions, I ended up with 26 years of service. When I met, and married, my husband, David, I’d served 10 years in the military, and informed him that I planned to serve 10 more years to receive retirement benefits. (As a Marine Vietnam Veteran, he wasn’t exactly thrilled about that. I was reminded of the careful balance of family and work often, especially when I was called to serve in a NATO exercise while my baby girl was 8 months old. There were no cell phones and essentially no communication, which was difficult. I was later told by the Personnel Officer they wondered whether they’d have to send the military police to get me.)

In the course of my military career, I served as a Communications Center Specialist at Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, MS and Misawa Air Base, Japan. I was subsequently transferred to Altus Air Force Base, Altus, OK to work as an Administrative Specialist, then joining the Air National Guard, serving in Columbus, OH, Fort Wayne, IN, and Headquarters, Indianapolis units. While working in the ANG as an Administrative Assistant, I served in the National Guard Bureau in The Pentagon, Washington, D.C., and later accepted a temporary duty assignment in Knoxville, TN to establish a new Band Unit. Upon my return to the 122nd Tactical Fighter Wing, in Fort Wayne, I served as an Equal Opportunity and Treatment Officer, Judge Advocate General Officer (JAG), and ANG Liaison to the 9th Air Force Judge Advocate ACC/JAR Executive Council, and transferred to Headquarters, IN ANG, as the State Judge Advocate until my retirement as a Colonel (O-6).

The military shaped me by instilling the concept of “duty”. It also helped me to set an example for other females to follow by being the best I could be as a role model , and staying strong to help others not as strong as I. (It did not; however, instill timeliness or conformity in me despite many years of military service.)

Working with Chris has been fun, yet informative. His patience and enthusiasm makes dancing fun. I hope others watching my dance performance become inspired to “Get up and dance” for their physical and mental well-being, and to donate to Honor Flight.