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MSgt Dunham dual retirement
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Barton Kenerson, 354th Maintenance Group deputy commander, Master Sgt. Shelly Dunham, 354th MXG training section chief, and Master Sgt. Bradley Dunham, 354th Security Forces Squadron standardization and evaluations superintendent, stand at attention during a retirement ceremony at the Aurora Event Center June 12, 2014, Eielson Air Force Base Alaska. Mr. and Mrs. Dunham retired together in one combined retirement ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jim Araos/Released)
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Dual retirement ends military chapter for Air Force spouses

Posted 6/17/2014   Updated 6/17/2014 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Peter Reft
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/17/2014 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Bradley Dunham, 354th Security Forces Squadron standardization and evaluations superintendent and Master Sgt. Shelly Dunham, 354th
Maintenance Group training section chief, retired together June 12, 2014, at the Aurora Event Center, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

The Dunhams sat together, joined by their three children and Mr. Dunham's mother and father, as Lt. Col. Barton Kenerson, 354th Maintenance Group deputy commander, presided over the dual retirement ceremony.

With their retirement dates approaching at the end of 2014, the Dunhams decided to retire together with one ceremony.

The couple felt the combined ceremony was easier to accomplish due to their retirement dates being one month apart and simplified scheduling for their friends and family.

"Brad is retiring Nov. 1 and I'm retiring Sept. 1 and we were going to have two separate ceremonies," said Mrs. Dunham, "but we both wanted Col. Kenerson to officiate the ceremonies, so Brad suggested we combine them."

"Instead of doing twice the effort, we just put them together and have something unique," Mr. Dunham added.

Besides the practicality of a two-in-one ceremony, the Dunhams also considered it for
sentimental reasons.

"We've known each other since our first assignment, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and we've been together for 20 years," said Mr. Dunham. "We started together and we might as well finish together."

Both the Dunhams served a total 20 in years for the Air Force while maintaining a family through the ups and downs of military life.

"One of the best things was that we both knew the hardships of being in the military," said Mr. Dunham. "We could understand the long hours, the dedication to our jobs and the fine balance of home life and work life."

"On the other hand, the hardest part was balancing our time with the kids, their programs and our work," added Mrs. Dunham.

As they reflected on their time in the Air Force, the Dunhams stated how much they appreciated the benefits of military life.

"The best thing we did was stay in the military because the Air Force has really provided a good life for us," said Mrs. Dunham, "There's no way our family would have been able to see and do the things that we've done without the experience."

"What other business pays you to travel, pays you to see the world, pays you for your education and pays you to have fun?" said Mr. Dunham. "Right off the bat, we're getting 30 days of paid leave a year and normally you have to work at a company for years before that happens."

Friends of the Dunham family wished them luck as they prepare to start the next phase of their lives as retired Service members.

"Wherever you go, you always make the best of it and never hold grudges," said Mr. Dunham. "We are about to finish up here and now we are starting our second chapter."
Onward, together.

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