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Daughter follows father's footsteps to the 919th SOW


Staff Sgt. Kaydee Goleta, noncommissioned officer in charge of command post operations, poses for a photo with her father, retired Master Sgt. Kenneth McDowell, at Duke Field, June 16, 2021. McDowell served with the 919th Special Operations Wing for his 32 year Air Force Career, and Goleta followed in his footsteps and joined the 919th SOW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicole King)

DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- Examples of generations of families serving at Duke Field can be found all around the 919th Special Operations Wing.

One of those examples is in the 919th SOW command post where Staff Sgt. Kaydee Goleta, the noncommissioned officer in charge of command post operations, helps oversee a variety of tasks essential to the mission of the 919th SOW and Duke Field.

Goleta is a third generation Air Force and second generation Duke Field Airman. She grew up visiting her father, retired Master Sgt. Kenneth McDowell, at Duke Field. McDowell spent his 32 year Air Force career as part of the 919th SOW working as an aircraft maintainer, loadmaster, and deployment readiness noncommissioned officer.

“When I was growing up, I watched him and the pride that he had in his job and in serving his country,” said Goleta.

Watching her dad serve led her to join the Air Force and serve at the 919th SOW as an Air Reserve Technician.

“It inspired me to join JROTC [Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps] when I was in high school just so I could have that same feeling of camaraderie that he had,” said Goleta. “When I was a little bit older, the opportunity presented itself for me to enlist. I really drew on the pride that I had in watching his service to help push me through my training. Coming back to Duke Field was almost like coming home for me.”

During his time at Duke Field, McDowell flew with the 711th Special Operations Squadron and the 5th SOS. He brought his family to Duke Field for family days and tours of the base.

“I’m extremely proud of her and what she has done and what she has accomplished,” said McDowell. “It makes me proud that she has enjoyed the military life that I was able to provide a glimpse of it for her and let her choose this career path as well.”

More opportunities to serve the 919th SOW in footsteps that mirror her father’s may also be in the future for Goleta.

“I want to reiterate how proud I am of my dad and his service and the fact that I have been allowed the opportunity to continue his legacy here at Duke Field,” said Goleta. “I would love the opportunity to follow in his footsteps and become a loadmaster too.”