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All in the family: Reserve father inspires son to join the 943rd Rescue Group

Col. Rich Dinsdale and his son, Senior Airman Scott Dinsdale, both serve with the 943rd Rescue Group. The senior Dinsdale is a doctor with the 943rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron, and the younger works as a “rigger” in life-support. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Staff Sgt. Sarah Pullen)

Col. Rich Dinsdale and his son, Senior Airman Scott Dinsdale, both serve with the 943rd Rescue Group. The senior Dinsdale is a doctor with the 943rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron, and the younger works as a “rigger” in life-support. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Staff Sgt. Sarah Pullen)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Arizona -- Col. Rich Dinsdale says one of the proudest days of his life was when his son announced he wanted to join the Air Force Reserve. Assigned to the 943rd Aerospace Medicine Squadron, the doctor is finishing his 30th year of service, while his son, Senior Airman Scott Dinsdale, is finishing his second year of training.

As a "rigger" assigned to the 943rd Rescue Group, the younger Dinsdale maintains parachutes and other life-support equipment for pararescue jumpers (PJs) and combat rescue officers.

"I handle all the equipment that PJs use, and make sure it's good to go during training and real-world contingencies," he said. "I am responsible for packing eight different kinds of chutes."

While riggers may not share the same limelight as the PJs, their work is mission essential because pararescuemen's lives rely on the integrity of their parachutes. Riggers straighten out the lines in the parachute canopy bag, search for holes and tears in the material, check for frayed suspension lines and inspect the pack tray, harness, risers and ripcords. Their motto is "Last to let you down."

Like his son, the colonel also provides a critical mission behind the scenes. As a flight surgeon and squadron commander, he ensures aircrew, PJs and other unit members are healthy enough to serve locally and deploy in support of the rescue mission. Col. Dinsdale has more than 30 years in the military with 20 of those in the Reserve component. He started as active duty Army, transferred to the Army Reserve and went to medical school. Then he went into general surgery and switched to the Air Force, and has spent the last seven years in the Air Force Reserve. While he never placed expectations on his children to join the military, he said Scott's joining the service created a special bond between the two of them. "I couldn't be more thrilled to see Scott join the Air Force Reserve."

Father and son belong to the 943rd Rescue Group yet they serve in separate squadrons. Col. Dinsdale deployed during the Gulf War I and was gone almost a year from his family. Now, the younger Dinsdale is carrying on the family legacy and looking forward to his first deployment to Djibouti.