The military is the life for Dawn Price and her family.
“Starting with my mom and dad, myself, my two brothers that were in the military, my husband, and my other son, and my sister-in-law, we have 128 years of military service combined,” she said.
Price knew she needed to get back into the military lifestyle when her first marriage fell apart in 1981, so she enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
“When I got out of that marriage I couldn’t stand not having an ID card, the base, the security of the military, the structure, the regimentation of your life,” Price said. “I couldn’t stand civilian life so I decided I’d go in.”
About Price’s military career
Price, who made her time in the Air Force into a 25-year long career, had a plan.
“I had planned when I went in to make a career of it and I had two goals: One was to stay long enough to retire, and the other was to retire with as much or more rank than my dad had when he retired,” Price said.
Price did both, making the rank of Master Sergeant in her 20th year in the military, spending several years working in nuclear, chemical and biological weaponry.
“We went out and searched for them (chemical and nuclear weapons) and if we found them, we disposed of them,” Price explained. “Biological weaponry, how to treat people if they were exposed to biological weapons and wearing your chemical suit so that you don’t get exposed to the deadly chemicals.”
Price was one of the first five females to be attached to special ops; however, she couldn’t tell anyone she was in special ops at the time.
“At the time, females weren’t allowed to be in special ops,” Price said. “I was attached to special ops and so I went to the same places. Now I can say I was in special ops, but at the time I couldn’t.”
Family military lifePrice, who remarried during her Air Force stint — to an Army man — is the daughter of the first married couple in the United States Air Force to re-enlist together.
“They met as drill sergeants in the Air Force and when they got married, right before they got married, if a woman got married she had to get out,” she said. “They changed that, too, when she got pregnant, so I was the reason my mother had to get out.”
Her mother, a German Jew, joined the Air Force to give back to the country that saved her.
“My mother was a German Jew raised in a Japanese prison camp in Shanghai, China,” Price said. “She came to this country and got her citizenship and joined the Air Force as a way to pay back the country that had saved her life, literally.”
Price’s father made his career the Air Force. He spent time in Vietnam during the war, said Price.
What she learnedGrowing up in a military family is what made Price fall in love with the military lifestyle.
“As a youngster, having been a military brat and having lived my entire life in the military or around the military, it became my normal way of life,” she said.
Price feels the military helped shape her outlook on the world and that outlook something she passed along to her four children.
“It just seems like you become a more worldly person,” Price explained.
“You know more, you know, you’re more accepting of differences and as a military brat, you’re more just generally accepting of people’s differences and different cultures and lifestyles than someone who has lived in the same small town all of their life.”
Price’s youngest son, Robert Price, feels that his mother helped him become more accepting of others around him.
“I think my parents, the thing they taught us, my parents taught us to not look at anybody’s outlook it’s more about who they are inside as a person,” Robert Price said. “We just grew up like that.”
Price feels that those who serve in the military end up gaining a broader view of the world, and that is something that she loves about it.
“They are more accepting,” she said. “That’s the thing that a lot of times the military teaches to be accepting of differences.”