Enlistment and Basic Training

Interviewee: Paul Madsen

Born: December 28, 1960

            Paul Madsen was born in Onekama, Michigan but lived in several states while growing up. His father is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. When Paul was going to high school in Charlotte, North Carolina he applied to all the major military academies all the while hoping to get into the Air Force Academy. Finally successful he got admitted to the Academy in 1979. He discusses the experiences he had attending the Academy and the various challenges. Paul went to pilot training in Enid, Oklahoma and graduated in 1984. After graduation, he was stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona with the 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron. He goes on to describe his early years as a pilot and the combat training he received.

In 1989 Paul transferred to the Reserves at Hill Air Force Base in Utah and also began working at Southwest Airlines. Eventually he became the assistant officer of the 466th Fighter Squadron. After 9/11 Paul was glad that he was in a great position to do something to help fight terrorism. Soon after the terrorist attacks he was stationed at Ahmed Al Jaber in Kuwait flying combat sorties into Afghanistan. He describes the sorties he flew and the complex technology he used when attacking the targets that were primarily set up by CIA operatives. He felt that his cause was very noble and very satisfied with the work he did Afghanistan. During Operation Iraqi Freedom he was stationed in Iraq where initially his job was to target SCUD missiles. Later  his unit would provide air support for ground troops.

Paul shares the emotion of returning home from Iraq and seeing his son as well as his unsettling feeling that he was not allowed to blow up as much as he should have while in the combat zone. In 2007 he was sent back to Iraq and was given a chance to see General Petraeus’ strategy in operation. In the conclusion of his interview Paul offers his opinions in the matter of funding for the Air Force.