People join the military for multiple reasons, such as patriotism, earning the opportunity to get an education, travel and medical benefits. One of the reasons Col. Joseph Anderson wanted to join the Air Force was to have his medical school paid for, which happened when he attended the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. Twenty-eight years after graduating from USUHS with his medical degree, he continues serving in the Air Force. He currently serves as the Air Force Medical Support Agency medical readiness division chief.
Anderson’s service and dedication is a part of what inspired his son, 2nd Lt. Ben Anderson to also join the Air Force. When Ben was in high school his father encouraged him to look into many colleges. Together, they toured three of the service academies. On Christmas Day, 2013, Ben was notified that he was accepted into the U.S. Air Force Academy.
“As soon as I got the acceptance I knew that the Air Force was going to be my future,” Ben said.
The following fall, Ben began his cadet experience and graduated from the academy in May 2018. He now works with the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Bliss, Texas. Ben recently began his additional training to become an air liaison officer. He directs lethal and nonlethal joint firepower and serves as an Air Force advisor to ground force commanders for the integration of air, space and cyber power. Although Ben was qualified for many other jobs such as a pilot or even to become a doctor like his dad, he had his heart set on becoming a battlefield airman.
“He’s never been one to take the easy way out,” Joseph said of his son.
Although they’re in different career fields, the father-son duo shares open mindedness and optimism for the future. Joseph plans to retire in two years and will be going into a different career field as a civilian. Ben is considering the possibility of also changing careers, later on.
“I am very happy where I am now, but in the future I might decide to do something completely different and go to med school if it so drives me,” Ben said. “He [Joseph] is a very intelligent guy and he will be able to do whatever he wants, wherever he wants to do it.”
Ben has great admiration and respect for his dad and the sacrifices that he has made for their family.
“He [Joseph] actually volunteered for a deployment to Afghanistan, a yearlong deployment, so that my sister could graduate from the same high school where she started,” Ben said of his father. “He didn’t want to move her, her senior year. I think that was probably the most selfless thing I’ve seen someone do. So, while it was tough to have him gone for a year, the reason he did it has forever stuck with me, and it’s greatly inspired me because even though he was doing his job, he volunteered for something he did not have to volunteer for, for the sake of his family.”
Joseph shares the same sentiment for his son.
In speaking about his son, Joseph said that “he and all our battlefield airmen, past, present and future, they are my why. Because of them, I am dedicated to ensuring the Air Force Medical Service and the military health service system delivers medically ready airmen and ready medical airmen to our combatant commanders.”