This week’s Up Close features Staff Sgt. Spencer Matthews, 94th Maintenance Squadron senior munitions inspector. Up Close is a series spotlighting individuals around Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
Staff Sgt. Matthews was nominated by his flight chief and first sergeant to be featured this week on account of his hard work and dedication to improving the munitions section. As their newest air reserve technician, he has “hit the ground running.” His duties consist of monitoring the health of the entire munitions stockpile, and he has already corrected all discrepancies in the inspection program, re-writing a training plan and implementing it accordingly.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
WHY DID YOU JOIN THE AIR FORCE RESERVE?
I literally went straight from six years of active duty to the Reserve in January of this year. When my wife and I joined the Air Force, our goal was to make a good military to civilian connection. Being active duty in ammo, my choices were limited where I could be stationed. Another goal was to be closer to my family and friends. The Reserve provided us a good balance of being where we wanted to be while still serving at whatever capacity we could. Being an air reserve technician, I’m in uniform full time, but I’m just five minutes from my family.
FAVORITE AIR FORCE EXPERIENCE?
I have a lot of favorites, so it’s hard to choose one, but probably having a chance to deploy. Not to sound cheesy, but having that opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself was a great experience. Being in the military and being deployed are very different experiences. It was humbling to make it to another part of the world, to see what you’re contributing towards and to see how other people are living. Being an inspector, we were issuing real-time stuff. I’m doing it every day for a training mission, whether that was at Davis Monthan on active duty or here at Dobbins, but when you see Hellfire missiles that you’re inspecting and pushing out to the flightline come back with just a remove before flight ribbon, you know what you’re doing is for a reason. It’s killing bad guys. So when you can contribute in that type of capacity, I really can’t describe the feeling.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
I’m a big runner. My wife and I are huge foodies. We like to get out and have some good food and try different stuff. Definitely anything involving physical activity and being outdoors. I’m a big finance guy too. I’m big into investing and trading.
I finished my associate degree and now I’m working on my bachelor’s degree. Professionally, I’m working on climbing the ladder. I’m in a great spot here, but I want to put Dobbins on the map. I’m one of five people in my office – ammo is a very small mission here – so we’re really working to highlight what it is we’re doing because in ammo there’s six to eight different sections with 30-40 people in each section. Here, I’m one of five, but those other missions don’t go away so we’re all wearing those different hats. I want to really be able to showcase what it is we’re doing out here and help not just myself, but also my associates.
BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED?
Some advice I got from a mentor, who taught me people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. That has resonated with me my whole life. When I came into the military, no one cared about my background, only my rank mattered. My goal was to make rank and all the while remember that feeling. When I got the opportunity to make a difference and make a positive impact, to do it – despite rank, despite anything. You can be the most knowledgeable person in the world, but people aren’t going to want to follow you and care about what you know unless they know that you care about them, their goals, their interests, their families, their struggles, and what they deal with on a daily basis.
SOMETHING NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT YOU?
That’s a tough one. I’m really an open book. I had a sales and marketing business that I sold before joining the military. I was a realtor as well and had a real estate company.