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Mission Support Group deputy finishes 28-year career

Lt. Col. Dennis Bradley, 139th Airlift Wing, is photographed for a story on March 7th, 2009 as he prepares for retirement after 28 years of military service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane) (RELEASED)

Lt. Col. Dennis Bradley. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane)

03/07/2009 -- Lt. Col. Dennis Bradley, the 139th Mission Support Group's deputy commander, finds it hard to believe that his career is coming to a close.

"It's surreal," he said. "Sometimes I can't believe it's really happening. All of a sudden, it's done."

Before joining the Air Force himself, Bradley was an "Air Force brat," with his father, who retired as a master sergeant.

"I lived in the Philippines as a kid," Bradley said. "because of my Dad ... I've always been around (the Air Force)."

Bradley spent 13 years on active duty and four more in the Air Force Reserve before coming to Rosecrans in the late 1990s.

Bradley's boss, 139th MSG commander Col. Norm Brosi, said he had worked with Bradley many years, dating back to Bradley's time as the base civil engineer at Rosecrans.

"He's very studious ... very professional," Brosi said of Bradley. "He's a very professional commander ... he does things by the book."

Bradley, however, says he could also think outside the box.

"I color between the lines a lot," he said. "The textbook answers don't always work."

Bradley said he originally pursued a commission, "because it was the best opportunity to help folks."

Bradley held several positions while at Rosecrans, including deputy commander of the Civil Engineering Squadron and Chief of Environment and Contract Planning.

He listed the Total Force transformation as the biggest change he'd seen during his military career.

"All of a sudden," he said, "Guard and Reserve were being put shoulder-to-shoulder with the active duty Air Force."

While admitting it sounded cliché, Bradley said "the people" are what he will miss the most about his service.

"The people here are great," he said. "You take people away from the organization, and you don't have an organization."

Staff Sgt. Michael Crane contributed to this story.