Build Your Legacy: Trainee Matthew Oldham

  • Published
  • By 307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
  • 307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Matthew Oldham has one foot in the future and one in the past. But there’s no doubt he has both feet firmly planted on the ground.

The Boyd, Texas native credits family history with influencing his decision to brighten his future by joining the Air Force Reserve. We sat down with Oldham to find out just who influenced his decision to enlist even as he grows his own construction company on the civilian side.

PA: What can you tell us about your family’s military history? 

Oldham: So, in my immediate family, there’s not too many people that were in the military. But outside my immediate family, I have a lot of people that were prior service. A couple of people served in Vietnam, a couple of people in Desert Storm, stuff like that.

One of the ones that sticks with me is my grandpa. He was in Vietnam. He was a tunnel rat. Not too many people know what that is, but actually dug tunnels in Vietnam into enemy lines by himself with just a pistol and a knife. He managed to survive all of Vietnam.

He was a great man. If I could be half the man he was, I would be doing good.

PA:  Did he tell you stories about his service?

Oldham: He told me some. He died when I was about nine years old. So there were a lot of stories that he said, “I’ll tell you when you get a little older,” because they were gruesome. I never got to hear those, but he did tell me a little bit about his experience. It was hard for them, even after the war. But, believe it or not, he enjoyed it. So, I figured, let’s try it.

PA:  So, who influenced you the most to join the military?

Olham: It was prior service members. People like my grandpa and a distant cousin who served in the military. They really influenced me because they grew up like I did, in a small town with not the best lifestyle. I saw what they did with their lives and how they presented themselves as men. And so, they influenced me to join just so I could be more like they were.

I also grew up around a VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), and everyone there, all the veterans, no matter what branch of the service they were in, said, “If you’re gonna go in, shoot for the Air Force. Shoot for the moon.”

PA: What advice would you give veterans talking to potential recruits about joining the Air Force? What are some things you didn’t hear that you wish you had?

Oldham: It would have been great to talk to someone in my AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code). It also would have been good to hear about the differences between the active-duty Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. That was something I didn’t learn about until I got here.

If you know someone interested in joining the Air Force Reserve, contact the 307th Bomb Wing recruiting office at 318-529-3026 or 318-716-0259.