Steve Wichers, Chief Master Sergeant, US Air Force (retired)
I joined the military at 18 years of age and have spent 13 years as active duty and 19 years as a reservist in the US Air Force. I will be officially retired as of 1 April 2016 with 32 years of service. I have been fortunate to have achieved my biggest career goal of making E9 – Chief Master Sergeant in Feb 2011. I deployed to Seeb AB Oman, Talil AB Iraq, (2X) Al Dhafra AB United Arab Emirates, Kirkuk AB Iraq and if you want to count it, I deployed in-place stateside with my home unit to fill in for the Chief who deployed. I will always feel that I have not given enough to the military because I signed on for life. The Air Force has been the primary driving and guiding force in my life and it will be very difficult for me to be just a “civilian”.
I am a member of American Legion and American Legion Riders (2X Sgt-at-Arms, Road Captain); Patriot Guard Riders, Wolf Pack MC out of Oakland, CA and Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (CVMA). I find my time spent with CVMA to be the most rewarding. I finally found an organization where I can “fit in” without judgment. CVMA also gives me opportunities to give back to many different organizations such as: Pathway Home, Wounded Warriors, Veteran Homes and Hospitals, and others. I can also “give more” to the military and its members now that I am part of something that is as involved and dedicated to helping veterans as CVMA is.
I guess my first riding experience was on a 5 hp mini-bike, fun but the front forks kept bending. I then tried a Honda 90 CI step-through; I gave that up after a 30 mph endo. Now that I think of it, those forks bent too, I’ve always wondered how I got two defective bikes in a row. I then decided to get serious about riding and moved all the way up to a Honda Rebel 250, couldn’t afford a Harley at the time so this was the closest I could get to a bike with the looks of a Harley. Good little bike but way underpowered, did scare the crap out of myself with it the first time I ever dragged a foot peg around a corner. I really started riding in 1991 (because the girlfriend at the time said I couldn’t so I had to) with a 1977 Ironhead Sportster with candy paint and kick start only. Good one legged exercise during those Indiana winters.
I felt a need to scratch my chopper itch, so I had a custom bike built to fit me in 2005. I have had my fair share of introductions to asphalt with all the things I have ridden through the years, and I don’t see myself ever not riding something with two wheels and when I’m too old for two wheels, I will have to move on to the dreaded trike.
“Once it’s in you, it’s in you forever whether it’s motorcycles or the military”
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