Who is Chris Caserta?
There are a lot of Chris Casertas on the internet, so how do you know if I'm the one you're looking for? Seriously, if you're looking to bust a cap in one of us, stop reading right now; I'm not the guy you are looking for, I was totally out of town that day.
I have three sisters, Caryn, Sherry, and Robin, and one brother, Jeff. I grew up in Newington Connecticut, went to Southeast Elementary School (now Ruth L. Chafee Elementary School), then the John Wallace Middle School, and rounded out my primary school education at E.C. Goodwin Regional Vocational Technical School in New Britain. I graduated high school in 1982, and enlisted in the US Air Force in March of 1983. My family still lives in Connecticut, although they're spread out around the state now.
Since I scored in the 99th percentile on the Trade/Technical portion of the
the recruiter suggested I become a Jet Engine Mechanic.
Me: I want to work in telephone.
Recruiter: With that score, you want to be a Jet Engine Technician.
Me: No, really, I want to work in telephone, you know, and climb up phone poles and stuff.
Recruiter: We have openings in bomb disposal.
Me: OK, I want to be a Jet Engine Technician.
Eh, probably for the better; I'm afraid of heights anyway. So after basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, they trucked me up to Chanute AFB (closed in 1993) in Illinois to learn how many ways a jet engine could burn and cut the human hand. I was scheduled to leave for Zwibruken Germany for my first assignment upon graduation, but managed to swap with a guy who had family there and went to Travis AFB in California instead.
I swung wrenches at Travis for three years before I cross trained to Flight Engineer (you know, the guy that sits sideways behind the co-pilot in all the Airplane movies?). After Basic Flight Engineer School (BFE) at Altus AFB in Oklahoma, I went to Fairchild AFB for Combat Survival courses, and then back to Altus for TTU, (I no longer remember what that stands for). I flew the mighty Lockheed C-141B Starlifter for the final 17 years of my AF career, retiring in 2003. I was stationed at Charleston AFB from the spring of 1987 until the summer of 1997, when the Starlifter was phased out and then sent to McChord AFB in Washington where I retired from the Air Force and still live.
I have one child, a son, who is attending college at Florida Gulf Coast University in Florida. Stephen and I hike when we can, and he enjoys my hobbies as much as I do, especially target shooting.
Inside the Starlifter cargo compartment. I'm sitting on the hood of a Secret Service vehicle.