Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Ricchuito, a fire chief with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron fire department, and his son, 1st Lt. Devin Ricchuito, a clinical nurse with the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group, crossed paths at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a major hub for service members traveling throughout U.S. Central Command. The two are at opposite ends of their careers; Chief Ricchuito, is on the last deployment of his 29 year career, while his son was transitioning through the base on his first deployment, according to an Air Force press release.
"I have been influenced greatly by my father's motivation and love of the Air Force," 1st Lt. Ricchuito said, according to the release. "It has definitely affected the way I conduct myself and approach other service members."
His son is not the only person Chief Ricchuito has influenced. Master Sgt. Joshua Loescher, 379th ECES deputy fire chief recently met the elder Ricchuito and said he is a humble man who "embodies everything that he expects [his men] to be as airmen and as Air Force firefighters." He never asks more of his men than he is willing to take on himself, Loescher added, noting that it is something seemingly simple, but uncommon.
Over his 29 years in the Air Force, Chief Ricchuito has served with fire departments at a variety of locations, and, at almost all of them, earned awards for outstanding service. Some of these awards include: Air Force and Department of Defense Military Fire Officer of the Year of 2006; U.S. Air Force Southern Command Fire Department of the Year of 2015; AFCENT Fire Department of the Year (large category) of 2016, and more.
Chief Ricchuito has said that his family, teammates, friends, and mentors have always been a motivating factor. He has found himself to be "very fortunate in [his] career to have strong mentors" and hopes his son will be blessed in that same way.
Rachael Kalinyak is an editorial intern with Network Solutions.