Airman Portrait: flight chief rises through ranks as single parent

  • Published
  • By Susan Griggs
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
Raising children is a tough job, and single parenthood, especially for military members, can be twice as hard.

But imagine being a senior airman who suddenly finds himself as a single dad with four children, 3 years old and under - and all in diapers.

That's what happened in 1996 to Senior Airman Dave Hogue, who was a computer maintenance instructor in the 336th Training Squadron.

Fast forward to the present - Hogue is now advanced cyber systems and concepts flight chief in the 333rd Training Squadron and a major in the Air Force Reserve serving as senior intelligence officer for the 403rd Operations Group.

"Prayer, faith, family and church support got me through some difficult times," said Hogue, who has spent his entire Air Force career at Keesler. He went through technical training here and was initially assigned as a maintenance technician and later as an instructor in the 336th and 338th TRS.

When his wife left the family, he had a 3-year-old son, 2-year-old twins and a 6-month-old baby girl.

"It was very difficult, stressful and overwhelming, but the kids gave me purpose every day and I drew strength from them," Hogue recalled. He refers to his parents, who came from Pennsylvania to help him with the children, as his heroes.

One of his fellow instructors encouraged him to enroll in college classes.

"Obviously, I didn't believe I had time, but I enrolled full time, had success in the first semester, and never turned back," he said.

In 1997, he earned two associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force. Two years later, he received a bachelor's degree in technical/occupational education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

About the same time, he met his future wife who was on active duty at Keesler Medical Center.

"I didn't know Jessamyn until we met just before we made the trip to the 1999 Air Force Singles Conference in Estes Park, Colo.," Hogue explained. "She was on active duty for more than seven years."

They married in 2000 and added a son to the family in 2002.

Hogue left active duty in 2000 but continued his Air Force service as a civilian instructor in the 338th TRS and a reservist with the 403rd Wing. In 2001, he completed a master's degree in technology education from USM.

In 2002, he became a training specialist in the 332nd TRS and in 2003 he moved to the 81st Training Support Squadron as an instructional designer for computer based training.

For five years, he served as the facilities and equipment chief for the 81st Training Group and earned a second master's degree in intelligence studies from American Military University in 2010.

Hogue became a training staff officer at 2nd Air Force in 2011. He joined the 333rd TRS training team in 2012 as a training manager before assuming his current duties earlier this year.

"The ability to support and influence officer and enlisted Air Force cyberspace trainees, and promote the professional development of our instructors and staff members is the best part of my job," Hogue pointed out.

In the Reserve, he spent his first three years as a computer maintenance technician in the 403rd Communications Flight. He moved over to the 403rd Operations Group as operations management/executive officer in 2003, became the group's intelligence officer in 2006 and assumed his current duties in 2009.

Earlier this month, the major left for his third deployment to Southwest Asia, where he'll be briefing and debriefing aircrews in support of tactical airlift, airdrop and aeromedical evacuation missions.

As a reservist, he is energized by "the dynamic nature of the intelligence career field and the awesome responsibility associated with supporting tactical airlift and weather reconnaissance missions."

Hogue's professional accomplishments are equaled by his success in raising his five children.

One of his twins is now Airman 1st Class Shane Hogue, who joined the Reserve last year and serves as a loadmaster with the 815th Airlift Squadron. The proud father administered the oath of enlistment to his son, who has put his college plans on hold because he may deploy to the same location in Southwest Asia in November.

Hogue's oldest son is an aerospace engineering major at Mississippi State University. He and both of the twins were selected for the Biloxi High School Hall of Fame. Hogue's twin daughter attends community college and works in retail. His youngest daughter is the senior class president and captain of the volleyball team at Biloxi High. Their youngest child is a student at Biloxi Junior High.

Positive resilience is the personal trait that Hogue credits for his professional and personal accomplishments.

"I've been able to keep a positive perspective," he remarked. "My wife and kids are great motivators and stand by me in support of my goals. My parents have always been there for me with their support."

Hogue coaches youth baseball and enjoys bike riding and golfing.

"For relaxation, I like to sit in our swing in the backyard, watch the birds on our bird feeders and enjoy time playing games and watching TV shows and movies with the family," he added.

His advice to Keesler's young Airmen is to "be ambitious, set lofty short-term and long-term goals and never tell yourself you can't achieve these goals. Think of your problems as only temporary challenges for which you can find solutions."