By Staff Sgt. Patrice Clarke
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
When it comes to hobbies, many people just do what they love for fun. Seldom does a hobby actually pay off. For one Schriever staff sergeant, his love of music has paid off in a big way.
Staff Sgt. Richard Justice, the non-commissioned officer in charge of procedures in the 3rd Space Operations Squadron, recently turned his music-making hobby into an award winning profession when he won the “My Air Force Life” Original Song Contest. His original song, “That’s Why We Serve,” was one of 56 entries in the Air Force-wide online contest.
Contestants were charged with writing an original song on one of three different categories. Sergeant Justice chose the “why we serve” category because he felt he had a lot of material for that subject.
“The song itself is based on my time as an Air Force Honor Guard member,” said Sergeant Justice. “I joined the honor guard right out of basic training and I was a part of the program for three years.”
While an honor guard member, Sergeant Justice would participate in numerous funeral services for fallen military members.
“That experience really made an impact in my life and also gave me a lot of material for this song,” he said.
Sergeant Justice, whose artist name is, “A Day and a Half Notice”, because that’s all the notice he needs to produce a good song, was completely surprised when Col. Michael Mason, 50th Space Wing vice commander, informed him he won the contest during the wing stand up meeting July 8.
“I thought I was there to brief some forms and publications … I even showed up with my binder ready to go,” he joked. “I got a little suspicious when my wife showed up; I wasn’t expecting her to be there at all.”
“This just goes to showcase yet another unique talent Schriever Airmen have to offer,” said Colonel Mason. “Congratulations to Sergeant Justice.”
Sergeant Justice will receive a $2,000 gift certificate from Musician’s Friend, a music supply store, and a one-hour Skype session with the award winning songwriter Thom Sheppard. Sergeant Justice has already earmarked the prize money to upgrade his home recording studio.
“I wrote, produced and did the vocals for this song right in my house,” he said. “Now I’ll be able to have a better studio.”
A better studio for Sergeant Justice means he will be able to pass his success forward to other aspiring artists.
“Many times there are some great artists out there who just haven’t gotten their start,” said Sergeant Justice. “Studio time and studio equipment is extremely expensive. This is one way I can help other local musician get their music out there.”
Winning this award is not the stopping point for Sergeant Justice. He will continue to write and produce music.
“I’m not going to stop now,” he said. “This just affirms that I’m on the right track.”
To listen to Sergeant Justice’s original song go to www.myairforcelife.com.