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Three generations of excellence

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica D. Keith
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
A young Airman stands proudly while his father and grandfather pin a career badge on his chest during a ceremony July 1. The badge signifies his graduation from technical school and tells the world he is a firefighter.

Airman 1st Class Laurence Micale is a third generation servicemember. Both his father and grandfather are retired colonels in the Air Force.

His father, retired Col. Peter Micale IV was a missile launch officer until his retirment last month. His grandfather, retired Col. Peter Micale III was a 17th Training Group commander and then a vice wing commander for the 17th Training Wing from 1977 until he retired in 1981.

Both his father and grandfather expressed pride in the young Airman for choosing to serve his country as a firefighter.

Adding to his father and grandfather's sense of pride is the fact that Airman Micale excelled during his training and was named distinguished honor graduate for his class. He graduated with the top score among the 17 students in his class. During his training here, he was also green rope, a student leader in charge of various tasks in his flight.

Airman Micale attributes a large part of his success from growing up around the military. He said it gave him an advantage because he was already accustomed to the military lifestyle which enabled him to concentrate on his studies and student leader responsibilities.

"This has been the most challenging thing I've ever done in my life," Airman Micale said about his fire training. "The instructors are great and now I'm just looking forward to what comes next."

With tears in his eyes, his grandfather said, "I couldn't be happier. I am extremely proud of my grandson and what he has done."

His father also expressed joy in his son's accomplishments, stating that there has been a Micale in the Air Force ever since his father joined Air Force ROTC while attending Fordham University in New York City in 1948, just one year after the Air Force's beginning in 1947.

"This is a proud moment for the Micale clan," his father said. "Our family is very close and we want him to be happy with his decisions."

Although his grandfather hopes Airman Micale will one day attend Officer Training School, the Airman said he's just going to take it one day at a time.

"For now, I'm just doing what I love," Airman Micale said. "I enjoy helping people and I really enjoy a good challenge. Right now, that's enough."

Airman Micale's first duty station is Vandenburg Air Force Base in California, a state notorious for its fires.

"It's good that he likes a challenge," his father laughingly said. "He'll earn his paycheck over there."