Aaron Davey

Master Sgt. Aaron Davey is recognized for his 20 years of service in the Air Force. The Sheldon native retired from the U.S. Air Force on Oct. 1 to spend more time with his family, including his 2-year-old daughter, Lillian.

SHELDON—Aaron Davey had a bomb of a time in the U.S. Air Force for two decades.

But Master Sgt. Aaron Davey is in a less explosive field after the former munitions expert officially retired from the Air Force on Oct. 1.

The Sheldon native wanted more family time and is working for Big D Excavation in North Dakota.

Davey, his wife, Toni; and their two children — 10-year-old Gabriel and 2-year-old Lillian — reside in Minot, ND.

“It was time,” Davey said. “I retired at the first opportunity. It was time to be with my family again.”

His career with the Air Force as a munitions expert lasted 20 years, 27 days.

Davey, 38, graduated from Unity Christian High School in Orange City in 2001 and he knew college was not going to be next. He felt a different calling, one his parents, Glenn and Sharon, weren’t exactly on board with.

He enlisted with the Air Force on Sept 4, 2001, following in the footsteps of his grandfather.

“They hated it. I swindled my dad into it,” Davey said. “I actually signed up when I was 17. They didn’t try and talk me out of it. They weren’t happy, but they respected it. My grandpa was drafted into World War II. I had one cousin that did a six-year stint in avionics in the Air Force.”

His time in the Air Force started with basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. That’s when he had to make the decision of what he wanted to do in the military.

After weighing his options, he saw there was an opening in the munitions field.

“You can go into the vehicle maintenance aspect, but anyone can do that. Assembling explosives, you aren’t going to find many that do that. It’s very specific,” Davey said. “It’s unique and there was a job opening so I went in guaranteed that job. It just really piqued my interest and sounded like a lot of fun.”

Davey was transferred to the Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas in 2002 to take part in a munitions apprentice course.

Later in 2002, Davey became a munitions storage crew member in Italy. It was one of many overseas deployments for Davey as he also spent time in Afghanistan, Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Guam.

Davey said his favorite spot was in Italy.

“That was incredible,” he said. “I was young and didn’t know what I had yet.”

Davey was transferred to Minot Air Force Base to serve as a munitions storage crew chief. He was stationed in the North Dakota city for the next 11 years and he met his wife there. They have been married for five years.

In 2015, Davey became a mobility section chief and within the same year he became a munitions support equipment section chief. The next year he became a munitions control section chief.

Davey earned 10 major awards and decorations during his two-decade career and earned seven promotions. While in Minot in 2016, he earned the rank of master sergeant.

In 2018, Davey was transferred to the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska to serve as a munitions flight chief. It was his final destination in the Air Force.

The flight was responsible for the accountability, preservation and issuance of more than two million explosive assets. Offutt Air Force Base provided ammunitions for firearms qualification, explosive simulators for pilot training and coordinated logistical resupply for numerous Air National Guard bases in the Midwest.

While Davey worked with explosive for two decades, he consider the items he was working with to be safe.

“Working with explosives on a daily basis, you can’t do everywhere,” Davey said.

Some of the equipment Davey worked with were 400-pound bombs, C-4 and Semtex.

“There is still a level of extreme danger, but it’s one of those things. The minute you don’t respect it, it goes bad. That’s an absolute 100 percent true statement,” Davey said. “I don’t know anyone that has had those opportunities.”

Twenty years was a good, round number for Davey. After spending three years at Offutt, he was ready to spend more time with his family. So he filed his retirement papers.

Davey participated in a skill bridge program leading up to his retirement on Oct. 1.

The outdoors enthusiastic still is involved with heavy machinery, though, since he works for Big D Excavation.

“Just working with equipment and heavy machinery, I was always good with it so working with heavy machinery made sense,” Davey said.