Honoring our Heroes – Dorothy Uphoff

Why did you choose the Air Force?

My father joined the AF before I was born.  All I knew growing up in Japan was the AF.  My father was a medic in the AF and was gone for long periods of time.  My mother was Japanese so I was raised primarily in Japanese culture.  I lived in Tokyo, Japan until the age of 14.  We then moved to Hill AFB, UT in Ogden, Utah, which was a much different culture but learned to love and enjoy the people and scenery there as well. 

How long did you serve?

I was an AF Dependent of my father until I got married to my husband, CMSgt Kent Uphoff, in 1983.  We immediately left for Germany and spent 15 of our 28 years overseas in Germany, Italy, England, Hawaii, and Korea.  We traveled to over 25 countries, which was so exciting.  We retired in 2006, after 28 years of service.  Serving as a dependent, and then as a spouse, had its up and downs, but overall very exciting and worthwhile.  I would not change anything.  We saw some amazing sights and met some unbelievable people. 

Did you come from a military family?

Yes, my father was a career AF Medic; he did numerous tours in Vietnam.  I remember in 1972, he bought back 63 POWs from Vietnam who were prisoned in the “Hanoi Hilton”. I have a book that the prisoners signed thanking me for “sharing” my dad with them.  I will always treasure that notebook.  Being a military dependent was difficult at times; many days, weeks and months without my father and husband; worrying if they would ever really come home. 

What do you do outside of work?

I work at Randolph AFB, Texas in the AF Personnel Center doing HR Total Force Center Serving.  There, I support both Military and Civilian members with all their Human Resource needs.  I am glad I can help the military and civilian government employees with queries, assignment questions, benefits, reenlisting, retirement etc. 

 My husband and I still volunteer often and enjoy being around the Military services.  We help in events, such as AF Adopt a Highway, Wreaths across America at Ft Sam Cemetery and donate to local Wounded Warriors programs. 

Where was the favorite place you lived?

Since I lived many places both with my immediate family and then after marrying my husband, I don’t think I have a favorite location.  Any assignment we made work and were good as we learned very young that home is where your family is.  I remember when we moved to Korea in 1998 with our three children for 2 years; a verydifficult transition.  Every night at dinner, my husband would ask around the table “what was a good thing today in your lives” and would only accept the positive.  At first, it was a short conversation but grew into nearly an hour a day of continuous effective communication.  Children are so resilient; they really adapt well to tough moving situations.  I too keep a little piece of all the wonderful memories in my heart and think of our military days with deep gratitude and respect to those who served.