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Father, son reunited during first, last deployment

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cynthia A. Innocenti
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar—Al Udeid AB serves as a major hub for military service members traveling throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, so crossing paths with someone you know  has proven to be a common occurrence.


April 10 proved to be one such occasion when Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Ricchuito, fire chief with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron Fire Department, was reunited with his son 1st Lt. Devin Ricchuito, a clinical nurse with the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group. Chief Ricchuito is currently deployed at Al Udeid AB for what will be his last deployment after 29 years of service, while 1st Lt. Ricchuito happened to be transiting through here on his first deployment.


The Ricchuitos are at opposite ends of their military career, but the same views about motivation and standards have been carried from one generation to the next.


“I have been influenced greatly by my father’s motivation and love for the Air Force,” said 1st Lt. Ricchuito. “It has definitely affected the way I conduct myself and approach other service members. From a young age he has told me to never lower my standards to meet someone else's, and to live by the Air Force core values and you can never go wrong.”


1st Lt. Ricchuito is not the only one whose motivation in the Air Force has been enriched by his father’s constant positive predisposition and years of experience; the chief’s encouragement has driven many other Airmen.


“I only met chief Ricchuito three months ago, but it has been an amazing experience,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Loescher, 379th ECES deputy fire chief. “He doesn’t care to talk about himself or his accolades, but if you do some digging it is pretty impressive.”


This is Chief Ricchuito’s second year-long tour as a fire chief for Al Udeid, and during his first tour he served as the incident commander of a multi-day incident involving a B-1B Lancer that caught fire while taxing after landing, earning him a bronze star for that tour.


“Chief Ricchuito is different in quite a few ways,” said Loescher. “For one, he humbly embodies everything that he expects us to be as Airmen and Air Force firefighters; everything he asks of us he does himself, 100 percent of the time, without fail, period.  It seems very simple, but it's not, and it certainly is not common.” 


The chief has served all 29 years in the Air Force within the fire department at various locations and earned awards for his outstanding service at almost all of them. A few of his accomplishments include: Air Force and Department of Defense Military Fire Officer of the Year of 2006; U.S. Air Forces Central Command Fire Department of the Year-Large Category of 2009; U.S. Air Force Southern Command Fire Department of the Year of 2015; AFCENT Fire Department of the Year-Large Category of 2016; and AFCENT Fire Prevention Program of the Year of 2016.


“The positive American Airman spirit is the constant intangible that has served as my motivational foundation,” said Chief Ricchuito. “When you take a minute to look around, you see professional Airmen doing amazing things under very demanding conditions. They are away from their family and friends back home, but they can always rely on their Air Force family to help each other, no matter what the challenge may be.”


“I have always been motivated by my family, mentors, teammates, and friends,” added Chief Ricchuito. “I have been very fortunate in my career to have strong mentors; I hope my son will have the same as he contributes to the new era of Airmen.”