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655th ISRG intel analyst retires after 31 years of service

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group member Senior Master Sgt. Brooks retired from the Air Force Reserve in a ceremony held Saturday, June 10, 2017 after serving 31 years.

Brooks, an analysis flight chief with one of the Group’s geographically separated units in Florida, served on active duty in the Navy starting in January 1982 as a cryptologic technician "T" branch, which meant she "stick" copied Morse code.

“I used a pencil and not a typewriter or keyboard,” she said.

Her initial training was at Corry Station at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and her first duty station was in Misawa, Japan, for three years where she worked on the watch floor as a wideband operator. Later, she was assigned to Torii Station in Okinawa, Japan, for three years as a direction find operator, and still found time for college.

“I earned my bachelor's degree in Okinawa through the University of Maryland with a major in sociology and a minor in Asian studies.”

Her third duty station was the Naval Radio Receiving Facility, Imperial Beach, in San Diego, California, for two years where she trained electronic warfare technicians on board their ships when they came into port. At that time, there were no women aboard ships full-time.

“I worked on board from 0800-1700 and had to be off the ship at 1700. I was escorted everywhere I went onboard. “

In 1990, she got out of the Navy, got married and had a child. Her family moved to Dallas, Texas, for her husband's job and she started working as a 911 operator for a local police department.

In 1994 Brooks enlisted the Naval Reserve at Naval Air Station Dallas in Grand Prairie, Texas. Her mobilization site at that time was at Medina Annex on Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. She stayed in the Naval Reserve for several years until the unit eventually moved to Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. During this time, Brooks earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology. After the September 11 attacks she was mobilized to active duty for two years.

“All this time, I kept trying to make Chief Petty Officer and couldn't make it. I was getting close to higher tenure as an E-6 and wasn’t ready to get out of the Reserve. I had a friend who worked in the same building who was and Air Force Reserve intelligence analyst. He told me to try to move over to the Air Force. I finally went to a recruiter, and by 2008, I was an Air Force Reservist.”

Her mobilization site was United States Pacific Command in Kunia, so she went to Hawaii every year for annual tour. In September, 2010, she deployed to Iraq as an advisor to the Iraqi police until May 2011.

After Iraq Brooks voluntarily received orders to Key West, Florida, to work drug interdiction for a year and then served six months at the Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters in Warner Robins, Georgia.

During her reserve time, Brooks held a full-time job as a 9-1-1 operator/police dispatcher and crisis manager for several years. She graduated from the Dallas Fire Academy and became a fire inspector for the Dallas Fire Department. After a few years, she served as a deputy fire marshal.

Brooks didn’t stop there. She went to the police academy and was certified as a Texas peace officer and as an arson investigator.

“I worked for the city for close to 20 years and then retired to take a full-time job with the 655th.”

While she has thoroughly enjoyed her 31 years of service in the military, Brooks felt it was time to retire.

“My home and family are in Texas,” she said. “I cannot wait to go back and be with my daughter and my two grandbabies.”

“Senior Master Sergeant Brooks played a huge role in building the squadron from the ground up,” said her squadron commander, Lt. Col. Kenneth Alderman. “Her vast experience as a fire marshal, Texas peace officer, Navy and Air Force veteran allowed her to have a profound influence on her fellow citizens and military members. She's earned her retirement and time with her family, but she will be missed.”