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My MacDill is…

My assignment at MacDill played a huge part in my development as a young man, eventually becoming a segue to my current career with Tampa Fire Rescue. I was an EOD tech, assigned to the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron from 1982 until 1988. I will always be grateful to the amazing leaders and role models who took an interest in helping me mature.
At 19 years old, MacDill became my second “home town”. I learned how to work on my truck at the auto hobby shop. I built Christmas gifts for my Ohio family at the wood shop. I got involved in a bowling league, started playing golf, and worked out at the gym. We always had awesome seats for the AirFest shows, sitting on the bunkers south of the runways. And I loved the food! If we were too late for dinner, the chow hall handed out a burger and fries in what we affectionately called a “barf bag” (I loved those, too)!
Every month, it was our job to head down to the Avon Park Bombing and Gunnery Range to clear the targets of duds. Most of the time the bomb dump would have something expired for us to get rid of down there, and the Tampa Fire Department would always escort us out of town!
My fire truck is occasionally dispatched to assist with a medical situation on the base. Since I’m not a military retiree, that’s my only chance to see MacDill these days. I enjoy reminiscing on my way back to the station, especially if we had been dispatched all the way out to the Marina or campgrounds!
Mike Shuler
Tampa Fire Rescue Captain

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