After 22 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Daniel Williams, a career security forces member, will retire in June — but that is not where this family’s story of service ends.
Williams’ son, Ethan, enlisted in the Air Force a few weeks prior, continuing his father’s legacy and paving his own path.
“Ethan is now the fourth generation in our family to join the military,” said Williams. “His mom and I served in the Air Force, his grandfather served and retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, his great grandmother served in the Air Force and great grandfather served and retired from the Air Force.”
Williams is currently the operations superintendent for the air advisors in the 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron.
The 435th CRSS air advisors have a unique role that allows them to engage, understand and resolve issues for U.S. allies and partner nations.
Their success is based on the relationships they form with the partner nation, as well as their ability to tackle complex issues specific to that region.
“I feel as if I have big shoes to step into,” said Ethan. “To be able to say that I am in the same branch as my father at the same time period is something that I know many people can’t say, and it makes me proud.”
After Ethan completes basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, he will attend technical training at Port Hueneme, California, to serve as a vehicle equipment maintenance apprentice.
“Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and my career will be different,” Ethan said. “I want to see where my career takes me and take advantage of opportunities the Air Force offers.”
Williams provided his son with plenty of examples of opportunity throughout his career. He has served at five duty stations including three deployments and a one-year remote tour to Korea.
“Transiting from the military brings a mix of feelings,” said Williams. “I have loved every step of my career in the Air Force and the people are 100 % what made it worth serving. Being a leader and using your skills to enable and empower your teams to complete the mission — that is what I will miss the most.”
As father and son look toward new adventures, the opportunity for reflection is not lost on Williams.
“My wife Jennifer and I are both extremely proud, humbled and excited for Ethan to continue the heritage of our family to defend the U.S. Constitution and the people of our great nation,” said Williams. “Being a parent is the most important job anyone can have, and I am proud of my son.”
Ethan graduated from Kaiserslautern High School in 2020, but has always known his path would include military service.
“Deciding to join the same service as my father was something that I have been wanting to do for the longest time,” said Ethan. “I have been waiting to leave for basic military training, and now that I’m going I am both excited and nervous. I am very excited to start my career, and will tackle all my challenges head on.”
Though there are a lot of changes occurring in the Williams household, one thing won’t change, the family will continue to grow together.
“Hearing so many of my father’s stories throughout his time in the service has been inspiring,” said Ethan. “I can’t wait to share my stories with him in the future.”