My name is Rick Rottman and this is my personal blog. It’s where I write about whatever I feel like writing about when I feel like writing about it. It’s neither objective or unbiased.
I am originally from the high desert of Southern California, Quartz Hill to be exact. It was where Los Angeles County just begins to think about transitioning to Kern County. It’s known for its heat, tumbleweeds, Joshua trees, and constant wind. I’m probably making it sound nicer than it is.
Through accidental happenstance, Western Maryland is my home now. What’s Western Maryland? Anything on the left-hand side of Baltimore. In my case, I live in Hagerstown, Maryland.
My Air Force days
I graduated from high school in 1982. Even though I was brimming with white privilege, I couldn’t find any meaningful employment. I was working at Burger King and attending Antelope Valley Community College. I knew I would not be able to afford to transfer to a four-year college after I completed community college, so I felt like I was wasting my time.
I decided to join the United States Air Force. In the Air Force’s infinite wisdom, they made me an electronic countermeasures (ECM) technician, even though I had no knowledge or more importantly, an interest in electronics. To this day, I hate electronics.
After a year of tech school in Biloxi, Mississippi, I was transferred to Clark Air Base in the Phillippines. I worked the flight line on F-4E and F-4G Wild Weasels. Although I didn’t like electronics, I loved working on aircraft.
After the Philippines, I was stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. I absolutely loved Guam. It’s probably my most favorite place in the world.
When I was stationed in the Philippines, I got certified in SCUBA diving and would go diving as much as I could. Because of the distance from Clark Air Base to the ocean, that meant three-day weekends. On Guam, I could go diving each and every day. I absolutely loved it.
I also loved working on the B-52. It was a much better aircraft to work on than the F-4.
After Guam, I was stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York. It was then I began not enjoying the Air Force too much. Being stationed in the states was a lot different than overseas. Plus, I was getting older and I think I was just outgrowing the Air Force. The military is a young man’s game.
At the same time, the military was shrinking. The Cold War was over and Air Force bases were closing. Griffiss AFB was marked for shutdown. I was offered and accepted an offer to get out early in 1994.
Although I tried to find a job in Southern California, it was hard to do from Central New York. This was before the Internet took off. I ended up getting a job offer in Maryland. Walmart was opening a large regional photofinishing lab in Williamsport, Maryland. They wanted to hire ex-military people with an electronics background to work on and maintain the photo processing equipment. Walmart received a tax break if they hired folks who just got out of the military.
I figured I could work in Maryland for a year or so until I decided what I wanted to do when I grew up. I then met my wife and I’ve lived in Maryland ever since.
I’ve now lived in Maryland longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere else. Although I’ve had a series of jobs after working at the photo lab, I’ve always lived here in Maryland. We bought a house here, so I think that officially makes me a Marylander.
I still haven’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up even though as I write this, I’m 55 years old. If you have any constructive suggestions, feel free to share them with me.
You can follow me on my personal Twitter account. I promise I’ll follow you back unless you are a white supremacist or a Jimmy Buffett fan.
Want to see the dumb things I take pictures of? Sounds like you might want to follow me on Instagram.
You can also send me a friend request on Facebook where we can be fake friends with each other. If we are friends in real life, we can be real and fake friends.