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Jennifer LaChance - KF5HCD

After graduating from high school in 1975, I immediately enlisted in the USAF.  In July of that same year, I departed for San Antonia and Lackland AFB.  Six weeks later I was sent to Chanute AFB in Illinois for training as a Fire Protection Specialist.

My first real assignment was Altus AFB in Oklahoma.  Altus was a MAC base, hosting the giant C-5A aircraft and the semi-giant C-141, along with a SAC contingent of KC-135 tankers.  It was a great assignment, and I began my firefighting career with a terrific department!  I trained hard, first as a "lineman" (one who handles the hoses and nozzles) then as a driver/operator of all the equipment assigned there.

A few months into my assignment at Altus, I was sent back to Chanute AFB for Munitions School.  This was a two-week course to learn about various weapon systems and how best to deal with them when they are involved in a fire scenario.  It was as fascinating as it was intensive!

In January of 1977 I was sent to Zweibrucken AB in Germany for a three-year tour.  "Sunny Zwei" was home to a wing of RF-4C aircraft, as well as a few small Army aircraft used to transport film to other USAFE bases.  I had a very well-rounded experience there, serving as a firefighter, fire extinguisher maintenance technician, and finally as a fire inspector.  I loved every minute of it!  It was here at Zweibrucken that I sewed on my fourth stripe!

Jennifer in a training fire at DFW Airport.
Jennifer in a training fire at DFW Airport. Note the picture frame - it is a window she cut from the fuselage of a DC-10!

My last assignment was at Cannon AFB near Clovis, New Mexico.  Here I was introduced to the F-111D.   As a Station Captain, I was periodically assigned to the one-man fire department at the Melrose bomb range.   It was great duty, with days spent watching planes strafe and bomb a variety of targets.  I was only at Cannon for six months, but in that time I responded to two major aircraft accidents and one major fuel spill.

Following my five year tour in the Air Force, I went to work at DFW International Airport in the Department of Public Safety.  I received training and certification as a Peace Officer before spending the next 20 years as a firefighter, training officer and fire marshal.  Another great job with some of the finest people I have ever known!

I currently work for NCR, Inc.  Though the company is based in Atlanta, GA, I work out of my home providing customers with customization services for some of our off-the-shelf software.  I also own a small business building spec tube amplifiers for guitars and repairing just about anything in the electronic world, from cell phones to drones to ham radio gear.

My station consists of a Kenwood TS-830S (fully accessorized), a Heathkit SB-220 amplifier and a Gap Titan DX vertical antenna.  I recently acquired a Kenwood TS-530S, which will be reconditioned and used for 40-meters as well as a backup for the 830.

I joined the Flyers a couple years ago, and have found them to be the most personable, compassionate and sharing group of people I've ever had the pleasure to associate with.  I look forward to the radio net each day, hoping and praying that signal propagation will be good and I'll be able to hear everyone!  

Jennifer LaChance - KF5HCD (#559)

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