MOHALL, N.D. (KXNET) — For 20 years, Richard Cummings served in the U.S. Air Force.
However, retirement wouldn’t stop him from serving and protecting his country.
“He was a World War II Veteran. He ended up out in the Pacific by the end of the war. That’s one of the reasons I actually looked at the Air Force and joined was I wanted to experience what he experienced,” recalled Cummins.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Richard Cummings entered the U.S. Air Force at the age of 24.
He enlisted in 1979 and started his career as a Navigator. Not long after, Cummings would become an Aircraft and Avionics Officer.
In 1980, he married the love of his life, Alice, who is also an Air Force veteran. The two were stationed at Mather Air Force Base in California. They went on to have two children together while they continued to serve our country and travel the world.
After about seven years, Cummings switched roles within the Air Force.
“In 1986, I was recruited by Air Force Offices Special Investigations as a Special Agent. I basically started as a typical field agent. So, I ran felony death investigations, child abuse, fraud, and because I was already a Captain, I began picking up commands very quickly in OSI,” said Cummings.
During this time, Cummings spent about three years in Illinois at the Scott Air Force base as a security advisor and bodyguard for the Air Force four-star that was there and traveled the world with him.
Cummings spent some turbulent times alongside the four-star general during the Gulf War.
Afterward, he was detailed over to Hurlburt Field in Florida where the Air Force Special Operations Command is located.
Cummings spent his time there as the Director of their Dynamics of International Terrorism course.
“Basically, what I specialized in was survival in high-threat environments. I came in with those skills because prior to that I was deployed or participated in Air Force OSI, I spent a lot more time doing special missions than deployed,” explained Cummings.
Cummings supported both Gulf Wars. He deployed to Rwanda as a Senior Intelligence Agent for the African Theatre, deployed into Somalia twice, and spent time on the Bosnian Campaign in the middle of the 90s.
This level of experience about how to protect the force allowed him to coach others all while still on duty.
“We would roll in and set up low-level source operations. Which means we basically recruited people to give us information that we then used to advise a commander on how to protect his force and his base while we were also accomplishing the mission we were assigned,” said Cummings.
After 20 years, Cummings decided it was time to retire. However, he was immediately contacted after his retirement and was asked to be a consultant for the Pentagon Joint Staff where he would conduct a review on how they train and deploy soldiers and how to establish mission objectives.
After that, he spent time as a subject matter expert for the Justice Department in order to prepare for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
In late 2001, as a direct result of 9/11, Cummings was recruited by the Pacific Air Forces to establish a program for their force protection intelligence.
Cummings told them he would come out for three years to help. However, he ended up staying there for 17 years.
“I got tapped with their cyber intelligence program as things changed and cyber became very large. Then, we also rolled into their Space Intelligence Program. So, as we combine these three elements. The intent was not only to protect forces, missions, and resources but also with cyber and space we got well out in front of it in terms of coming up with non-conventional and non-kinetic means of protecting our systems in a virtual world,” explained Cummings.
Cummings has passed on his love for his country to his grandson, who is currently in the North Dakota Guard as a military policeman.
In 2018, Cummings permanently retired in Mohall, North Dakota, where his two children and grandchildren live.
This is only a small portion of Cummings amazing story.
“I spent 38 years just having a whole lot of fun with a whole lot of opportunities. I got to give credit where credit is due, and that is to my wife of 42 years, who never failed on the support that allowed me to do those things that I wanted to do and had a whole lot of fun doing,” said Cummings.