Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

After lengthy career, Col Burchfield retires

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm) PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. Reginald Ash, 21st Mission Support Group commander, presents a sword to Col. Richard Burchfield, 21st Space Wing Senior Individual Mobilization Augmentee, during his retirement ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., June 10, 2016. Burchfield received several gifts and plaques recognizing his nearly 30 years of dedicated service to the U.S. Air Force.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm) PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. Reginald Ash, 21st Mission Support Group commander, presents a sword to Col. Richard Burchfield, 21st Space Wing Senior Individual Mobilization Augmentee, during his retirement ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., June 10, 2016. Burchfield received several gifts and plaques recognizing his nearly 30 years of dedicated service to the U.S. Air Force.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. Reginald Ash, 21st Mission Support Group commander, presents a sword to Col. Richard Burchfield, 21st Space Wing Senior Individual Mobilization Augmentee, during his retirement ceremony at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., June 10, 2016. Burchfield received several gifts and plaques recognizing his nearly 30 years of dedicated service to the U.S. Air Force.

By Dave Smith

21st Space Wing Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo.  —  As the Senior Individual Mobilization Augmentee, Col. Richard Burchfield directly serves and supports Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander.

Burchfield retired June 10, after a nearly 30-year Air Force career. Though he will exit formal military service, he will still do what he enjoys in supporting the military.

“I’ll still support the military,” Burchfield said. “I am putting one of my uniforms away, but I’ll still be doing it.”

He will not have time to savor retirement because he started the next chapter in his work life in a position at Millennium Engineering and Integration Company supporting the missile defense mission of Schriever Air Force Base.

Burchfield received his commission from the Reserve Officer Training Corps, University of Nebraska-Lincoln as a second lieutenant on May 25, 1987. He served many of the following years as a Minute Man missileer, like his father, retired Col. Edward Burchfield. He was on active duty from 1987-2005, then moved into the reserves in 2006 when he became Deputy Director, Space Division, 310th Space Group, at Schriever AFB. He remained in the reserves the remainder of his career, working at both Schriever and Peterson.

His father contributed to Burchfield’s entering into the Air Force and also provided an example to follow while his career progressed.

“Definitely a great dad, a great friend and mentor, the whole package deal,” Burchfield said.

Following his father into the Air Force was not something Burchfield wanted to do toward the end of his high school career. His parents were stationed in Montana and Burchfield stayed behind in Nebraska to finish out high school. When his father asked how the ROTC scholarship application was coming along, Burchfield deflected. Finally he admitted he had not even looked at schools to attend.

He said his father made a deal with him. Burchfield’s parents would pay for his first year of college, he would take ROTC classes and then decide the next steps afterward.

“I think he knew once I got in (to ROTC) I would like it,” Burchfield said.

Already close to his father, their relationship became even closer the longer Burchfield’s career continued.

“Every job I had, he’s been there,” Burchfield said. “We had more to talk about.”

The more Burchfield worked among commanders and other senior leaders, the more he appreciated his father’s nuggets of wisdom that helped him along the way. One of the simplest bits of advice was also one of the best and most enduring to Burchfield.

“He said focus on the job you are doing and the rest will take care of itself,” said Burchfield.

Drawing further similarities between the Burchfield duo, when they say they wore the same rank, they really did. When his father retired and took off his rank pins, he told his son to take them and hold on to them. Almost 20 years to the day after Burchfield’s father pinned on colonel, he pinned them onto his son during his promotion ceremony.

Everything that happened in his career led him to his last post, Burchfield said. Being able to employ his abilities to “help the boss,” gives him a distinct satisfaction. An IMA is linked to someone on active duty, in this case Schiess, and Burchfield said his job is to ask himself how he can help Schiess be his best.

In the IMA role, working on the commander’s behalf, Burchfield has had the opportunity to work frequently with community partners. Since going to the many meetings where the wing commander’s presence is not possible, Burchfield gets to be the consistent presence representing the commander. Commanders also PCS, and he served as a consistent face on behalf of three commanders.

Burchfield said his last post was the best family post imaginable. In many cases where he was involved in community outreach, he was able to take his family along. He credited each of the commanders he served with supporting a strong family life.

He will not have time to savor retirement because he started the next chapter in his work life in a position at Millennium Engineering and Integration Company supporting the missile defense mission of Schriever Air Force Base.

“I’ll still support the military,” Burchfield said. “I am putting one of my uniforms away, but I’ll still be doing it.”

Burchfield is remaining in the area. His wife and her parents are long time teachers in Colorado Springs and it is the community he calls home.

Robb Lingley, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs, contributed to this story.

To Top