Vint J. Dockery, a graduate of South High School, served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 20 years. Today, he teaches at Park University at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas and online classes with the University of Phoenix.
Vint and his wife Denise have been married 20 years and met at Lackland while both were serving as military training instructors. Both retired with the rank of E-7 master sergeant.
Why I joined: My father served four years with the U.S. Army. I felt it was a great place to serve my country, start a career, go see new places and complete my education.
My first base was Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, then Lackland and Randolph Air Force bases in Texas. I was deployed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
My favorite job as a service member: The one that I learned the most about personality traits, leading, managing, coaching, mentoring, and supervising was as a military training instructor at Lackland.
Favorite place visited as a service member: I really cannot pick one place as the military allows you to meet so many good people from different places. Through some of these meetings, I was able to travel to nearly 30 states.
Biggest accomplishment: Academically, I graduated with a master's degree in human resource development and also in management from Webster University. Professionally, while in the military, making the rank of E-7 master sergeant.
Greatest challenge: Serving my country in a war zone. It changes your view of life in general. When you come back, you realize if you have plans, goals and dreams, you better hurry up and get them done.
What I miss about Bakersfield: Family and friends; however, I am able to keep in touch through Facebook, Skype, email, and, of course, by phone.
What I miss most about the Air Force: The people in the Air Force are outstanding. Having that sense of team pride, commitment and dedication is something I will always miss.
Most important thing the Air Force taught me: Things are changing all of the time, so never stop learning or achieving. Your life should be in the state of nonstop self-improvement, just like the military.
What I do in my spare time: I like to work out at my gym in the CrossFit classes, heavy bag classes and I like walking. Also, being involved in the community is very important to me.
New Year plans: I recently graduated from Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service with the designation of certified safety and health official for the general industry and for the construction industry. I am working on the oil and gas certification and will finish in January 2014.
-- Do you know a Kern County resident who has served honorably in the military or is currently serving? Email us at email@example.com with the message subject line: Hometown Hero. Please include an email, phone number and/or Facebook link to reach the nominee.