When Dawn (Kissner) Breitkreutz was in high school, an Air Force recruiter came to speak to the senior class. The presentation intrigued her enough that she visited the recruiter’s office in Willmar and took what is known as the ASVAB test and did well on it.

So, she took the leap and enlisted to serve as a member of the United States Air Force.

It was in January 1980 when Breitkreutz traveled to San Antonio, Texas for basic training, and then she furthered her education in tech school at San Angelo, Texas as an electronics communications analyst.

When her schooling was over, Breitkreutz was sent to the Philippines where she did her four-year tour analyzing voice intercepts and morse code messages and then reporting that analysis to her superiors all during the latter days of the Cold War.

“It was fun,” Breitkreutz said. “I enjoyed it.”

While stationed on the main island in the Philip-pines, Breitkreutz was able to travel to other Pacific Island nations, such as Korea, Hawaii and Japan, on what are known as temporary duty assignments (TDYs).

In the Philippines Breitkreutz was stationed at Clark Air Base, also known as “the elephant cage,” which was an antenna array made up of large concentric circles of communications equipment that received signals from all over the region.

The communications technology Breitkreutz was using in the 80s was similar to that of previous generations.

“We worked on teletype machines,” she said, adding as her four-year stint that ended on 1984 was coming to an end more computers were being introduced.

After fulfilling her commitment in active duty, Breitkreutz joined the Reserves for another six years putting in a decade of service to her country that ended in 1990.

Returning home, Breitkreutz settled into life and then joined the Belview American Legion. At first, it was a decision she made as a way to honor her dad, who is also a veteran. 

Breitkreutz transferred her membership to the Redwood Falls American Legion after her dad had transferred.

Breitkreutz said she has seen her dad, as well as her mom, working very hard as part of the Legion, adding she felt the desire to be that involved.

When the past finance officer opted to step away from that role, Breitkreutz stepped in and has been filling that position for a few years.

Breitkreutz said she really enjoys the opportunity she has to work alongside her parents.

Earlier this year Breitkreutz was recognized for her efforts as part of American Legion Post 38 and was named the Legionnaire of the Year.

Breitkreutz said she is very honored to be recognized, adding she knows there are plenty of others in the Legion who would deserve this.

In addition to serving in a leadership role, Breitkreutz performs other duties. One of the things she really enjoys is being able to march in the parade.

“Everyone works hard,” said Breitkreutz, adding she appreciates knowing she has the chance to follow in the footsteps of her parents.

Breitkreutz added she just hopes she is able to do as much as he and her mom do when she gets to be their age.

- Submitted photo