WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Like so many of us, Donald Leasure had big dreams after high school. When Leasure realized “Plan A” wasn’t going to happen, he moved on to “Plan B” and joined the Air Force.

“I really wanted to play baseball, but I don’t think I was good enough. So, I decided, well, I’m going to do something, or my dad’s going to start to make me pay rent,” he said.

Leasure’s father served in the Air Force.

“He basically told me stories, and so I kind of had an understanding of how the Air Force was going to work,” said Leasure.

After he completed basic training and posed for what he called his “baby picture,” Leasure was designated to be a fuel control specialist.

“It wasn’t the ones that flew in the 135s or the KC-10s. It was the on the ground with trucks or hydrants, and that’s what I did the first three years,” said Leasure.

During this time, he was stationed overseas at Misawa Air Force Base in Japan.

“They had F-16s. That’s what I was refilling with, mainly, F-16s. And then every once in a while, the Navy would send the F-18 off a carrier to land there,” said Leasure.

After three years of fueling and refueling, Leasure decided to cross-train into the telecommunications field.

“My recruiter said, ‘So you want communications?’ ‘Yeah, that’d be great.’ And he said, ‘OK, well, you’re gonna be in the field.’ I was like, ‘Well, how’s that communications?’ And he goes, ‘Well, you talk on a radio, right?’ But, yeah, so the communications field that I went into was – we troubleshooting networks, T-1s, phone lines, stuff like that. And that’s basically what I do now,” he said.

His training continued at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington, and Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi, and he completed his enlistment here at McConnell Air Force Base between 1995 and 1999.

Leasure says he still leans in his Air Force training today.

“Jack of all trades, master of none, because we work on pretty much any kind of circuit. We worked on telegraph, telephone, cryptos, and the T-1 DS 3s. All types of media, media type and modems, routers, switches, computers,” he said.

Looking back, Leasure says he made the right choice to join the Air Force.

“What I was most proud of is actually serving my country. I was proud to do that. I mean, what I did was nothing compared to a lot of people, but it was still, you know, serving my country and being proud to be an American,” he said.

Leasure says he’s also proud to say his Air Force duties sent him around the world to places like Japan, Korea, Italy, and Saudi Arabia.

If you want to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Jason Lamb at jason.lamb@ksn.com.