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Why We Serve: Air Force NCO Serves 21 Years, Still Going Strong

By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24, 2007 – Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Duncan has served for 21 years and still says there’s no end in sight.

Duncan has had several opportunities to be commissioned as an Air Force officer. However, he said he prefers to be enlisted. “I chose to stay enlisted, because I like working with troops more,” he said.

Duncan is one of eight servicemembers who have served overseas in the war on terrorism who have been chosen to speak to American communities and businesses across the nation in the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” public outreach program. The program was initially the idea of Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and began in the fall of 2006. Eight servicemembers, two from each branch of the military are chosen to participate in the program each quarter.

“Anything to tell my story on why I’m proud to be in the military,” Duncan said. “I’ve actually been here 20 years.”

He said also wants to focus on telling Americans about his experiences during overseas deployments. He said he wants Americans to remember that he and the rest of the troops are regular people just like everyone else.

“It shows the personal side; we are not just machines and robots going along, we are people just like them,” Duncan said. “I could be their neighbor.”

He added that he is excited to meet new people, tell his story, and that he is anxious to see what kinds of questions audiences have for the Why We Serve speakers.

After already serving in the military for more than 20 years, Duncan said he is planning to continue his career as long as he can. He said he’d continue serving until he can’t do anything more for the Air Force.

“My mom and dad told me when I hit the 20-year mark (that) they wanted me to quit and wanted me to come home,” Duncan said. “But there are other mothers who don’t want their kid there either, so I said I’m just one of them.”

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Senior Master Sgt. Jeffrey Duncan, USAF

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