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Emerson McAfee began serving his country in the U.S. Air Force in early 1960, not long after graduating from high school. After 25 years of active duty, the Springfield, Ohio, native retired in 1984 as a master sergeant and returned to Madison County, his adopted home.

For Peter Schmidt, a retired law enforcement specialist with the Air Force, the highlight of his near two-decade long career is being on a Philippine Air Force base when prisoners of war (POWs) were returned safely.