I started modeling as a kid. Kits were scarce and I think I remember just about everyone I built prior to my high school years. Joined the Air Force at 18 (1966) and retired as a Master Sergeant at 38 (1986). Stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB Ohio, Andersen AFB Guam, Andrews AFB MD, Offutt AFB NE and back to Wright-Patterson. While on Guam I found a couple of other modelers, one a novice like myself and the other, the man that became my mentor. He breathed the words IPMS to us for the first time. There I developed some skills and knowledge of 'serious' modeling and when I transferred to Andrews, I was able to connect with IPMS Washington DC. (That was in 1972 and when I joined IPMS.) A great bunch of folks and I learned from them constantly. Having been involved in many chapters and the society in general has exposed me to many, many skills and techniques. I have tried to absorb as much as I can, even putting it into practice whenever possible.
Following a unit move to Offutt, I found out about the display unit of the Air Force, the Air Force Orientation Group at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH. Through constant whining and wheedling, I secured an assignment there building display models. We built models of all sizes for the various displays. From a 1/285 SA-6 launcher to a 1/30th scale E-3A AWACS and many in between. It was hog heaven. My last project prior to retirement was scratch-building the E-3A.
After retirement from the Air Force in 1986, I was hired by the 2750th Test Wing and worked in the model shop building wind and water tunnel models, radar cross section models and prototype parts. This lasted seven glorious years, until the research unit was disbanded following the fall of the Soviet Union. Since then I have held various jobs on the base and expect to retire at the end of 2009. Update - I did fully retire in Oct 2009.
All during this time I was active building models and heavily involved in the IPMS/Dayton chapter operations. I am honored to have been commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum for the construction of a scratch-built SR-71 in 1/32nd scale. It was delivered in 1984 and is still on display in the downtown facility. I have been a volunteer at the National Museum of the United States Air Force for over 35 years and have built many models for them. Some are on display and the remainder have been built as working models used by the staff to arrange the layout of a gallery.
In the last few years my building has tapered off considerably, but in my retirement my rate of building has been building. I had a severe case of AMS for a long time, but am much better now. My share of Nationals trophies are proudly on display, but I think from now on modeling will take a more casual approach. We travel a lot in our camper and I have set up a workshop in one corner of the living area. I have pretty much full capability, including a spray booth. Note my profile picture.
This is a hobby I truly love. The satisfaction of completing a piece of history is good and all, but having all of the friends and acquaintances I have met through the years is what belonging to IPMS has meant to me.
Thank you for listening to my rambling. (Or at least I hope you are reading this far down!)