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Columbus Airman recognized for 40 years of service

  • Published
  • By Airman John Day
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Some Airmen serve honorably for four, six or all the way up to 20 years. One Airman at Columbus Air Force Base has served for 40 years, earning him the title of the most senior lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

Lt. Col. Douglas Jantzen, 14th Flying Training Wing Chief of Aircraft Maintenance, has served not only 28 years as an officer, but also 12 years as an enlisted Airman, obtaining the rank of master sergeant before commissioning.

Over his 40-year career, Jantzen has seen the enlisted side of life working as a maintainer for his 12 years of enlisted service at Altus AFB. After commissioning, the Okeene, Oklahoma native worked with missile operations for four years. He went on to manage maintenance, logistics and munitions.

Jantzen says he attributes his success in managing as an officer to his years of working on the flightline as an enlisted maintainer.

"You can manage folks without knowing what they are doing, but it makes it a whole lot easier if you know what they go through," Jantzen said. "That's what I loved, being on the flightline, taking care of people. I had the experience of what it was like to work on the flightline. I knew what it was like to have supervision that knew what I was doing and they wanted to take care of me."

Jantzen is not the only one who benefits from his enlisted experience.

"He understands both sides of the fence," said Master Sergeant Nesha Willis, 14th Flying Training Wing Contracting Officer Representative. "When he talks to us, he relates to us as far as the enlisted side of our career and advice on what we need to do to progress in our career. It's really cool to have someone that can relate to your career so closely."

During his later years, Jantzen held positions as an Air Force Special Operations Commander twice.

"Being a commander is by far the best job," Jantzen said. "I probably worked harder being a commander than I did any other time. It was a tough assignment but it was also very rewarding."

From the time he joined, Jantzen has always been looking to help people. From offering a vehicle to a new airman to watching the children of his co-workers, he is always participating in his organization.

"I joined the Air Force because it was all I wanted to do from the time I was five years old," Jantzen said. "I do it for the people. I really enjoy managing people and taking care of folks."
"Whatever you need, he is there," Willis said. "It doesn't matter if you need to go to the hospital or you need to move a dresser or if you just need to talk professionally. In any aspect, he is always there."

He is scheduled to retire in June 2015. His dedication to the people of his organization and Columbus AFB as a whole will be missed.

"I like the community and base relationship," Jantzen said. "The people in this office are awesome. I could not pick a better place to close out my career than in this unit."