81st DS superintendent retires after 27 years

  • Published
  • By Steve Pivnick
  • 81st Medical Group Public Affairs
Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Schmidt will be honored for more than 27 years of Air Force service during a retirement ceremony, 10 a.m., May 16, in Keesler Medical Center's Don Wylie Auditorium. Col. (Dr.) Chad Harris, 81st Dental Squadron, will officiate.
The chief is the 81st DS superintendent. His duties include overseeing the daily operations of the dental clinic and laboratory. The squadron consists of 108 military, civilian and contract personnel.

Schmidt grew up in Arkansas City, Kan., and entered the Air Force in February 1987. His background includes duties as a dental assistant craftsman, dental laboratory craftsman and first sergeant. He returned to the dental career field in 2006 and was assigned to Keesler in July 2012. Prior to his current assignment, the chief served as superintendent of the 86th DS at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Reminiscing about his career, the chief said he enlisted in the Air Force because "I needed some direction in my life. It seemed like a great opportunity for a career and I guess it worked out pretty well for me. College wasn't my thing at the time, so I joined planning to continue college using education benefits at a later time. I didn't know it would take me 10 years to finish, but I did it."

His assignment to Crete, Greece, was his favorite.

"I helped to close that base and lived right on the beach," he recalled. "The water was just over my backyard wall. I had some great friends who ran a bar about five miles from where I lived and we spent time there just hanging out and enjoying island life. The clinic was very small, only two dentists and five techs. We were a very close bunch and everyone on base knew each other. It was a great family atmosphere and that is where I learned to dive. I spent a lot of time under water."

Post-retirement, Schmidt will be moving to San Antonio "so I can finally live with my wife. Long-distance relationships are just no fun. But we do what we have to do. I will go to work again, but I still don't know what I'm going to do when I grow up."