Air Force experience provided great foundation for Sherwood

Dan Marois

Feature Writer

Every day in the U.S. Air Force was an adventure for Linda Sherwood, of Lewiston.

“I joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Lewiston High School. I wanted to see the world and after six weeks of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, I was sent to Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio for the next four years,” said Sherwood, who served from 1981 to 1985, ending the stint as an E-4 Sergeant.

It was at the suggestion of her godfather and uncle, John Pendleton, a retired Lieutenant Commander that she considered enlisting.

“He recommended that I join the military to get leadership training and opportunities that would prepare me for a good future,” said Sherwood. “I have always been grateful to Uncle John for his advice that has served me well and provided me with a great foundation.”

Before enlisting, Sherwood had already become a nationally registered Emergency Medical Technician. The training served her well as she was sent directly to an assignment that had her working in the Labor and Delivery department at a medical center.

“I was only 18 years old and though I enjoyed assisting women during the birthing process and caring for the newborns, I was terrified and swore I would never go through that to have children of my own,” said Sherwood. “I am happy to say that my thinking changed and I eventually married and gave birth to five wonderful children, who are my world.”

In reflecting on her service, Sherwood has vivid memories.

“I will always remember the babies in labor and delivery who did not make it to full term, those we were unable to save,” said Sherwood sadly. “To me, they were not just embryos who did not make it, but little people. I am not trying to make any kind of political statement, but just taking the opportunity to honor those for whom I cared.”

While the most difficult part of being in the service was missing her family here in Maine, Sherwood fondly recalls the special assignments to escort dignitaries and their spouses who came to the military base.

“I recall the time I took a military HOP [space available on a military flight] and was given the chance to fly in the cockpit of a U.S. Navy P3 Orion from Washington D.C. to Brunswick Naval Air Station,” said Sherwood. “All the while [I was] seeing the Northern Lights for the first time as they danced above the New England skies.”

Sherwood said that she’s had an interesting life after her military service.

“I have worked as a certified nursing assistant, a phlebotomist in a hospital lab, and in retail management. I have lived on a farm in Michigan where we raised close to 100 rare and minor breeds of livestock, gave farm tours, and hosted events that drew hundreds of people from all over the state.”

Sherwood also served as the marketing director and gift shop manager at the farm while homeschooling three of her children.

In 2000, after the birth of her fifth child, Sherwood returned to Maine where she has done advertising sales, worked as a computer technician, worked as a freelance writer, and spent time as a community organizer.

“Along with one of my best friends, Filomena Day, we co-founded the Androscoggin Chapter of the Maine Women’s Network, which is still going strong today because of the outstanding women who are leading the chapter,” said Sherwood with pride.

Her thoughts on Veterans Day reflect a rewarding experience in military service.

“If you want a great job where you will learn skills and experience life, please consider joining the U.S. military,” suggested Sherwood. “I had many wonderful experiences and learned so many technical skills that benefit me today.

“I remember those who have served in any branch and in any capacity. There may be things about the political state of our country that we are not necessarily proud of, however, we are proud to have served.”


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