By Airman 1st Class Robert J. Volio, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 27, 2016
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Almost 30 years ago, a young man fresh out of high school walked into the Oceanside Police Department in southern California, eager to begin his dream job as a law enforcement officer.
He approached the front desk with the innocence that most teenagers carry, and stated, "Hey, I want to be a cop." The dispatchers snickered at his sincere statement and, after composing themselves, retorted, "Hey kid, get out of here and go get some life experience."
Now, with retirement on the horizon, Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Frazier, 30th Mission Support Group superintendent, has acquired that experience and then some.
"I joined the Air Force almost 30 years ago on July 11, 1986," said Frazier. "I was 17 years old when I enlisted. My mom and dad actually had to sign a form allowing me to enter the Air Force because I was under 18. I was with the Security Forces career field for 28 of those 30 years and now I've been with the 30th Mission Support Group for the final two. I've had a phenomenal time - it's been great."
Despite the rejection from his hometown police department, Frazier's original plan did not involve a lengthy military career.
"So my initial intent was to come in for four years, go back to my hometown and become a police officer on the outside," said Frazier. "Well, I stayed in the Air Force and I just began to love it. It was primarily the people and the mission. It was just a different way of life, and it changed my thought process after serving the first four years."
One of Frazier's most memorable moments came in 1990 during Operation Just Cause in Panama, where he was an integral part of the capture and handing over of the infamous Gen. Noriega.
"There are so many memories I have, but I would start with Operation Just Cause in Panama," said Frazier. "In 1989, we went to Panama to take out Gen. Noriega, a corrupt general out there. Not only did we secure the airfield and take care of business for our nation, but we brought him back to Homestead Air Force Base, my first assignment in Florida. We actually had him extradited from Panama down into a prison cell, and I was a part of that team."
Frazier remained an intricate part of the Security Forces family for 28 years before transitioning into his job as 30th MSG superintendent, a role that opened his eyes to the rest of the Air Force.
"The transition was kind of a godsend because I was able to open up my aperture quite a bit," said Frazier. "I was really focused on the badge and beret for those first 28 years, but getting exposed to the civil engineering, force support, contracting and logistic readiness squadrons - those units are phenomenal and they have great people. It just opened my eyes a little bit to the fact that everybody works hard in their own niche and their own skill set. When I say 'Proud to be MSG', I really mean that. I realized the mission just doesn't get done without MSG. It's been a blessing to get up here and work alongside Col. Schollars. He's an amazing boss, as well as the squadron commanders in the five squadrons that comprise the MSG - they're all phenomenal."
Even in such a short period of time, the 30th MSG is just as proud to have Frazier on their team.
"Chief Frazier is a consummate professional," said Col. Todd Schollars, 30th MSG commander. "I've known him for about two years now, and he has basically been the best advisor I've ever had in my Air Force career. I could not have commanded this group without him, period. He's very well connected to how people are doing and is able to engage them in a way to find out what's really going on with them which is incredible. The advice he is able to provide me on the way things can and should be done will be irreplaceable. He's been incredibly good at being there for not just me, but all the other chiefs and groups here at Vandenberg. It's incredible all the talent that he brings. We are going to miss him very much. And not just here at the 30th MSG and Vandenberg, but in our Air Force. I've never worked with a better chief than Chief Frazier in all my 26 years in the service."
Frazier provided sage words of advice for young Airmen in the early stages of their Air Force career.
"Take advantage of the opportunities at your disposal and get to know your teammates," said Frazier. "Wherever you're stationed, make the most of it and take those opportunities to do something outside of your comfort zone. These 30 years have blown by. There are things I wished I had done that I never took advantage of. I wish that every Airman would take the opportunities that are in front of them. You'll gain a wealth of knowledge from branching out a little bit. It's important for our young Airmen to basically match up and make sure we explore each other's differences. I think that's one of the things that makes us strong as an Air Force is our diversity. If we don't take the time to get to know each other, ask the right questions, and be that seemingly intrusive teammate or leader - we fail."
While reminiscing on his career, Frazier acknowledged it's been the people that have kept him in the Air Force for the past 30 years.
"It's been a great ride," said Frazier. "I never thought when I started out at 17 that I'd stay in for 30 years, that just wasn't in the cards. If you talked to my first supervisor, Staff Sgt. Bailey, I'll never forget his name, he'd probably pass out if he saw that Chief Frazier stayed in for 30 years, let alone made chief. But over time, blessed with great leaders, teammates and supervisors, I give them all the credit for allowing me to stay as long as I did and helping me to be successful. I'm actually sad to leave 'my' Air Force - it's been a great ride."