Reserve Citizen Airman Spotlight: Tech. Sgt. Derrick Dotta

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Louis Vega Jr.
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The Air Force Reserve is home to many that possess a diversity of skill sets. Each has their own story for why they decided to join and how they manage their careers and lives as Reserve Citizen Airmen. One 944th Fighter Wing maintainer shared his unique story on how he manages two completely different professions serving his community and country.

Tech. Sgt. Derrick Dotta, 944th Aircraft Maintenance F-16 crew chief and City of Glendale Police Department police officer, joined active–duty Air Force in 2010 and worked as a C-130 crew chief at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. While there he left active-duty, joined the Reserve and moved to work on the F-16 at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

“I joined the Reserve to continue serving in the military but I also wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement,” said Dotta. “The Air Force Reserve allowed me the opportunity to do both.”

Dotta transitioned to the Reserve in 2017 and has been with the City of Glendale Police Department since. He values the ability to do both careers and explains that the police department is very supportive of his choice to continue serving.

“We are given 320 hours of military leave annually,” said Dotta. “The department has also been awarded the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for exceptional support of Guard and Reserve employees.”

Dotta continues to faithfully attend Unit Training Assemblies despite his police work schedule which typically ends late at night.

“He still shows up for UTA’s even after tough Friday night shifts where he didn’t get off until 2 A.M.,” said Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Abney, 944th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Tactical Aircraft Maintenance section chief and Dotta’s supervisor. “He has great leadership qualities as displayed by his civilian and military jobs.”

Abney mentioned that Dotta has expressed interest in more leadership roles and he plans on helping him take that next step.

“Tech. Sgt. Dotta supervises two Airmen on UTA’s,” said Abney. “I will be getting him ready to begin learning the flight chief roles later this summer.

According to Dotta, Law Enforcement and military careers can be similar in a lot of ways because you are sacrificing your time to serve your community and country. He goes on to say that having support at home as well as being able to maintain a healthy work/ life balance is vital to success on all fronts.

“The mission doesn’t stop for holidays and birthdays,” said Dotta. “My family is very supportive and understands the possibility these dates might be missed.”

He has been married for 10 years and has two daughters. He prioritizes spending off-duty time with his family.

“Most of my time is spent at home with my family swimming in our pool, working on vehicles, and projects around the house,” said Dotta

Dotta’s desire to progress is apparent as he shares his vision and goals for the future.

“I have developed a passion for investigating auto theft and would like to become a detective assigned to this field,” said Dotta. “I also want to finish my college education, allowing for additional opportunities to promote within the police department and Air Force.”

Dotta, like so many Reserve Citizen Airmen, thrives on serving where and how he can. His outlook on balancing his careers and family seems to be a blueprint for success. The Air Force Reserve is always looking for people who are ready to stand by the Air Force core values – integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.