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Who Am I: The Beginning

Monday, May 04, 2020 14:51 | chad pearce

Who AM I 

When I think of the phrase “Who Am I” certain titles come to mind.  I'm a Father, Husband, Son, Friend, Recruiting Agency Owner, Chief Master Sergeant (soon to be retired) and a Christian.  These help to get a sense of who I am but they don't exactly tell my story. 

It’s a weird thing, telling your story.  As a point of reference, I'm the guy who has social media but never really posts.  Telling my story feels strangely selfish and also extremely personal.  However, the process of being a transitioning service member requires me to do some self reflection.  This blog and the Learner Program that is a part of my DoD SkillBridge internship with the ARRC are all tools in that transition.  I am grateful for this opportunity to grow and learn.  

I was born in Olympia Washington February 12th 1980. I was the first born child to my parents Don and Renee.  They met in high school and married while my Dad was in the Army, stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington.  Mom grew up in Southern California and  Dad was born in Canada before moving to California  as a boy.  They were young, it didn't work out and they divorced when I was 5.  My Dad stayed in Washington and spent 30 years on the Washington State Patrol.  My mom moved home to California and started over with my sister Taylor and I.   

I had a good childhood.  My mother and Step Father had two children together, there were four of us in the house, two boys and two girls.  We were an all American middle class family.  My Step Dad was a small business owner. My Mom helped him manage the business while raising us kids. He was a hard worker who was always hustling to provide.  My mother did her best to be the glue that held us all together, she was the ultimate CEO of the house. They were married for about a decade before divorcing.

I stayed close to my biological Father throughout my childhood.  He would call every Sunday and send letters in the days before text messages and email.  He had remarried as well a few years after my Mom did.  They had a son together and my Step Mom had two children from a previous marriage who were close to the same age as my sister Taylor and I.  We would visit our other family in Washington each summer.  Bouncing between the two families was not ideal, but it showed my sister and I how to be flexible and appreciate two different lifestyles. 

One constant in my life were my maternal Grandparents, or as I affectionately called them, Grandma and Pa Pa.  They were from the greatest generation and I learned so much from them.  My “Pa Pa” served during the Korean War and post service spent 35 years as an employee of Chevron.  Grandma passed in 2012, she was quite the character and I loved her dearly. Pa Pa is still kicking at age 91.  He reads two newspapers cover to cover each day and is still pretty darn sharp!  He calls me a few times per week, I cherish each call.  

We moved to 1763 La Mesa Oak Dr, San Dimas California  when I was 7.  That was the street all my childhood memories came from  between 1987 - 1998. Those were pretty good years.  Days when kids played outside all day, drank out of the hose and played “ding dong ditch”.  When neighborhood sports, pool parties and late night roaming of the block helped to shape the interpersonal skills needed to evolve into young adults. Sometimes I'll drive by the old stomping grounds when I'm headed in that direction.  I make a habit to unroll my window as I drive through town.  The smell of the trees, sounds of kids playing at the park (although much fewer than when I was a kid) and sights of the places around town invoke memories of simpler times.  

During the summer of 1997, I was visiting my father in Washington.  He had often told me Stories about his days as an Army Ranger. One story in particular sticks out to me; during his special forces training, he was required to chase down a chicken and bite its head off, crazy!  Although he was proud of his service, he told me “ Son if you join the service, join the Air Force, that's the way I would have gone if I did it all over again”.  I listened to my Dad and started the process to join the Air Force that summer, prior to my senior year in high school. 

Life has a weird way of coming together sometimes.  As I prepared to ship for Air Force Basic Military Training, I stood in line at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).  I was nervous and a little worried about what came next.  As I peered through the line I noticed a familiar face! My Step Brother Ricky was about 5 spots ahead of me waiting to get his room assignment.   He had recently moved to California to live with his Dad and as luck would have it we were shipping out at the same time.  However, his father didn't give him the same advice as mine and he was joining the Army.  We ended up sharing a room that night and helped each other calm our nerves.  The next morning we both went our separate ways en-route to Basic Training.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that 20 something years later we both would have retired from our respective services. 

Life also has a ways of working in cycles/evolution/chapters.  Those first 20ish years were my foundation. Those experiences and my faith I would lean on as I navigated challenging times through the next chapter in my life. Marriage, fatherhood and a career in the military would lay ahead.  It would be during this time I earned the titles of Father, Husband, Chief Master Sergeant and Founder.  

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder……….



  • Tuesday, May 05, 2020 08:37 | Curtis LaRue
    Thanks Chief for sharing your personal/military story. Exploring the “who am I” can be joyous yet also painful. Thank you for your service and god bless you and your family in your new chapter of life.
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    • Tuesday, May 05, 2020 08:49 | chad pearce

      There is some definite truth in your joyous yet painful statement. Through the years we have had many discussions about topics on life, I hope we keep that going regardless of our military status. Thanks for your support! I know I always have a Wingman in you!

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      • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 19:23 | Janell Hanf
        I love the quote you share from your father. As a Marine, I have definitely heard a similar quote from many older or retired Marines to their kids or younger loved ones, "Don't do what I did--Join the Air Force!" Clearly, it all worked out for you. And no matter what branch we serve, we all gain a solid foundation of skills and leadership to carry us into the next chapter. Different branches, one team. One flag!
        Best of luck in your internship!
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        • Thursday, May 07, 2020 08:31 | chad pearce

          Yes one team one flag! I appreciate you taking the time to support my Blog, as veterans we cross the finish line together. As you navigate the path to SkillBridge and post service employment please reach out to me anytime!

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  • Tuesday, May 05, 2020 16:39 | Leonard Davis
    You’re a great man, father, husband and son of our Father in Heaven. You’ve taught me a lot and always carry with you sense of strength and positivity.
    Thank you for your tireless dedication to our Great Nation.
    I look forward to staying in contact even thought we’re now geographically separated and wish you and your family the best in your new endeavors with your move home & business.

    L. Tyler Davis
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    • Tuesday, May 05, 2020 16:52 | chad pearce

      I appreciate the kind words, I am thankful our careers crossed paths, lord knows I needed you as my Wingman towards the end! I know we will continue our fellowship post service.

      You always have a Wingman in me!

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  • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 10:23 | Milton Jackson
    Basic training has definitely come a long way even when I went in 2008 straight after high school. You are most accurate, life does have if way of putting the pieces of what we may have not known together. The military ultimately gave me a new chapter of life into a music and entertainment business.
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    • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 11:23 | chad pearce

      You are a true entrepreneur! I think that's why we gravitated towards each other. I know you will thrive in any venture you put your efforts towards. I look forward to our continued collaboration on whatever projects happen in the future. I also think we can do good things together to empower other Veterans.

      Thanks for commenting on my Blog!

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  • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 16:14 | Jordan Madrid
    It’s funny how you think you know so much about someone’s past and what helped mold them into the person they are today, but can still learn so much about them. Forever grateful for the path that led you to join the Air Force that eventually inspired my decision to join the Air National Guard. Thank you for sharing something so personal with all of us!
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    • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 16:36 | chad pearce

      I'm glad I inspired you to join. I know that your time in the Air National Guard will inspire so many others to join as well. You never know, you might end up in the SkillsBridge program down the line! When that day comes I'll be here to help.

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  • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 17:39 | Vance Jackson
    Thanks Chief, for the indepth view of your “Who am I” blog. It is a true testament on how influences/experiences in our lives shape our pathway to the future. Clearly, your leadership and dedication has been unmatched from the beginning of your journey. I have and always will appreciate your guidance and the perseverance you continue to display. Thanks again for sharing your story and life lessons that have contributed to your continued success.
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    • Thursday, May 07, 2020 07:03 | chad pearce
      VJ, we all have a journey that helps to shape us. If I was writing about the second 20 years of my life you and your family would be a major character in that story. I'm even more excited to see where our journey will take us going forward! Thanks for your continued friendship and support!
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  • Wednesday, May 06, 2020 17:39 | Denise Jackson
    I felt like I’ve always know you because you’ve been VJ’s friend/mentor for many many years, but this has given me a deeper look into you as a person and I appreciate your openness to share. I look forward to reading your next chapters.
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    • Thursday, May 07, 2020 07:06 | chad pearce

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. As a military spouse you do so much to help VJ be successful! Thank you for your sacrifices and thank you for supporting me as I continue my journey.

      The Jackson's will forever be like family!

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  • Thursday, May 07, 2020 19:46 | Marc Mojica
    Thank you for this opportunity to read into your mind with just a few clips of memories. I see that so many moving pieces in your childhood years guided you into the man I admire as a friend and mentor today. Reading these details gives many that know you the ability to connect with you just a little be more, and understand why you are amazing on many levels. It’s going on seven years of knowing you, and your presences has been tremendous in my life and I’m deeply grateful for your voice. As you gear up for this transition into your next life chapter away from the uniform, remember that your past obstacles set you up for this new journey and nothing but continued success is in store. Till next time.
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    • Friday, May 08, 2020 09:26 | chad pearce

      Thank you for supporting me and for your words of inspiration. As I go down this path transitioning out of the military and into the civilian world it is people like you and comments like this that give me the inspiration to continue to serve our veteran community. You should also know that you have been as big of an inspiration to me as I have been to you.

      Thank you brother!

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  • Monday, May 11, 2020 19:21 | Mark Burney
    Chad, once you came to join the Oklahoma Joint Force Headquarters, I knew they found the right leader for the positions you held. You hit the ground running as a leader and mentor as a recruiter, physical fitness coach, and more importantly educational superstar. All the Airmen and leadership looked at you for your tremendous leadership skills and expertise. You spearheaded our current Air Force, Force Development program, which mentors and hones ones ability to look towards the future. It is with great respect that I had the chance to pick your brain and receive rewarding advice. The Blue is ahead of you and it's a wide open sky. Keep soaring Chief..
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    • Monday, May 11, 2020 20:50 | chad pearce

      Wow...Leaving the military has been somewhat of a challenge mentally but words like these remind me that I had a positive impact. I was lucky to serve with you sir. If you ever need anything, I’ll be here.

      Take the lead at JFHQ, it is your destiny to be the next Chief!

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  • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 07:57 | JAMES COY
    Since self reflection is an integral part of the life-review process, you have an excellent start with your self reflection, especially as you focus on your positive successes instead of negativity.
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    • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 08:25 | chad pearce
      Attitude, not aptitude, determines altitude.
      - Zig Ziglar
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    • Tuesday, May 12, 2020 11:53 | Albert Renteria (Administrator)
      James, great to see Chad's network is stepping up. Do comment on all posts and comments!

      I posted the Skill Bridge and provide a link to the REFUSE TO FAIL LANDSCAPE, do enjoy and when you are ready, let's engage you as a Learner as well. Semper Fi, Al
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  • Sunday, May 17, 2020 09:52 | Damian Lovio

    Thanks for sharing your story. Although we met a long time ago, We still learn about each other, many years later. Great insight on talking about yourself on social media compared to doing it for a better good. It appears you will have no problem excelling in this role.

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  • Tuesday, May 26, 2020 12:24 | Susan Scapperotti
    I am pleased to see your growth so far as you are transitioning out of the military. It is common for a veteran to have one identity and that is veteran. If asked who are you? A normal response would be to state I just separated or retired from the military.... There is much more to the veteran than their service, the personal stories, struggles, family, travel that make up who they are. It is a rich life of a veteran so rich that it is hard to describe to those that haven't also served but one thing is true, the selfless sacrifices you and other veteran's have made to our country. Although you have completed your service, you will continue to serve those around you who are also looking to transition. Thank you for your story and service!
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    • Tuesday, May 26, 2020 14:56 | chad pearce

      You hit the nail on the head, there is much more to each of us than this identity wrapped up in our service. I am proud of my service and working on my identity post service.

      Thank you for your support!

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  • Monday, June 08, 2020 12:32 | William West
    It's refreshing to see that someone as successful as you are had basically the same simple life as most folks out there. We all are shaped by those things we have been through, but everyone takes away different qualities from essentially the same experiences. It's been a pleasure watching you bloom as a leader and getting to where you are. Some friends and acquaintances stick with you more than others, and you sir will definitely be closer than most.
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    • Sunday, June 14, 2020 19:44 | chad pearce

      I appreciate your kind words. You have been a mentor for many years, and my success is due in large part to people like you who poured into me over the years. I agree with your statement, that's a two way street!

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