Unsung Hero: Master Sgt. Phillip Praeger

Master Sgt. Phillip Praeger (Courtesy Photo)

Master Sgt. Phillip Praeger (Courtesy Photo)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Everyday heroes walk among us. Some occupy important positions; others inspire us with their work ethic or commitment to duty. This week we'll meet someone whose career didn't go exactly as planned, but gives meaning to the words, "excellence in all we do."

Master Sgt. Phillip Praeger is the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron subscale logistics NCOIC.

Praeger spent most of his childhood in the state of Oregon until moving to Washington State where he completed his senior year of high school.

"Being in the same place all the time made me want to see more of the world," Praeger said.

As a youth, Praeger held other child-like aspirations as well.

"When I was younger I always wanted to be a firefighter," Praeger said. "I never achieved that goal or even got close. So I enlisted hoping I could be selected as one, but received a crew chief job instead. I began my career as an F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief."

Since then, Praeger has visited such places as Turkey, Japan, Korea, Qatar, Alaska, Canada, Singapore, as well as many states within the U.S.

"Upon receiving orders to Tyndall, I began my job as the 82nd ATRS subscale logistics NCOIC," Praeger said. "Changing from the flightline to an office took some getting used to."

In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, working out, hunting, and fishing. He also coaches youth baseball at the Callaway Sports Complex. Praeger has been married for 17 years and is the father of two young boys.

"I've been grateful to have great supervision throughout my career," Praeger exclaimed. "They've helped guide me in the right direction for promotions and advancement in duty positions."

Just like almost everyone who joins the ranks of the U.S. armed forces, there's always a deciding factor that leads them to military service.

"When I was 20 I worked in commercial construction," Praeger said. "I was told one day at work that I wouldn't have any work for a few weeks. I knew I would never last in a job that unstable, so I turned to the military."

Since then,  Praeger travelled extensively and achieved the rank of master sergeant. Although he never became a firefighter, he has met and exceeded every challenge the Air Force provided -- underscoring his commitment to "excellence in all we do."