RAF MILDENHALL, England – --
During his two assignments at RAF Mildenhall, England, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Landon Scaife, 100th Air Refueling Wing Equal Opportunity advisor, traveled to more than 20 countries.
He turned wrenches as a maintainer during his time here from 2012 to 2014, and now, as a member of the Equal Opportunity office, he serves to ensure work environments for Airmen are free of obstacles preventing them from succeeding. Scaife has taken advantage of the base’s proximity to other countries and used travel not only as an outlet to decompress from the demands of work, but also as a tool for personal change.
During his time maintaining MC-130J Commando IIs on his first assignment, Scaife often worked long hours on the aircraft to ensure they were prepared to carry out the mission.
“We sometimes would work 10 - 12 hours with little or no time for lunch breaks, then eat as fast as we could and get back to work,” said Scaife. “For people who work on the aircraft, it can be nonstop. We were always going 100 percent.”
Scaife used travel as a positive outlet to establish work-life balance. He would get off work and fly to different countries in Europe and Africa on long weekends or periods of leave.
“Everyone needs to have a release from work and traveling is mine,” said Scaife. “Whether it be going to the gym, volunteering off base, or practicing photography, Airmen need something to get involved with away from the military.”
Although he is traveling less now compared to when he was younger, Scaife still takes trips to shift his attention away from work.
“I like to travel to two places quarterly,” said Scaife. “It’s my favorite pastime, and it’s the only time I feel free.”
Scaife’s travels in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean have led to long-lasting memories.
“On my trip to Morocco during my first assignment here, I went sand boarding down the sand dunes in the desert. I rode all-terrain vehicles and went on camel rides,” said Scaife. “A taxi I used even ended up breaking down in the middle of the desert. The air conditioning in the car was poor at best, and I remember the heat beaming down on me while I was sitting in the car in the middle of nowhere. It was like a hot open oven inside. It was a fun trip, and I laugh about it till this day.”
In addition to the adventures he’s had while traveling, his trips have also resulted in personal growth.
“Traveling has opened my mind up to so much more. It’s made me more accepting and has expanded my horizons,” explained Scaife. “It’s given me more drive to want to succeed and do more in life because I’ve had the opportunity to see all these different countries, which I could potentially live in someday if I retire and want to go back.”
Scaife’s experiences traveling have taught him some important lessons about how to safely and successfully plan a trip.
“I advise Airmen to let their supervisor know about their travel plans. Keep them in the loop in terms of when you take off, touch down and when you expect to be back so that the communication piece is there,” emphasized Scaife. “Let your family know where you are, just in case something happens to you as well. Check in with the consulates of the countries you are traveling to and read to see if there is anything going on within the country you should be aware of.”
Although he does plan out his trips, Scaife also enjoys some flexibility in how he travels. He likes to have a general idea of what he wants to see when visiting a country while also keeping in mind his responsibilities as an Airman.
“Normally I plan out the major sites I want to see and look into the nightlife scene. I also ensure I have my away tickets, my return tickets and a place to stay. I research the places I should not be found in as a military member,” said Scaife. “It’s important to understand we have to uphold certain standards both on and off-duty. Don’t get yourself in trouble.”
Scaife is convinced that one of Mildenhall’s advantages is its location, which affords easy access to neighboring countries. Although some might be disappointed at returning to a base they have already been stationed, he’s thankful.
“The cool thing about RAF Mildenhall is that it’s so close to the rest of Europe, so it’s very affordable to see other countries,” said Scaife. “It’s in a good location, and I am happy and grateful to be back.”