Memory Lane to Hall of Fame
By Tech. Sgt. Angela Stebbins, 157 ARW/PA
/ Published November 16, 2009
Pease ANGB -- "Wow, how did I get here?" Were the words spoken by Brig. Gen. Mark F. Sears, Commander of the New Hampshire, Air National Guard (NHANG) Friday November 6, as he described his initial thoughts and discussions with his wife Donna about being selected into the University of New Hampshire's (UNH) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Hall of Fame.
Sears was inducted into the Hall of Fame during the annual ROTC Veterans Day Ceremony held at the UNH Campus. He was one of three chosen for this year's induction, along with The Honorable Stephen E. Merrill, and Brig. Gen. Lori J. Robinson.
The UNH ROTC Alumni established the Hall of Fame in 1996 to be able to recognize those former graduates who have provided outstanding service to the country, the State of New Hampshire, and/or the University of New Hampshire
Sears obtained his commission in the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program at UNH in 1976 along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He then attended Undergraduate Navigator Training, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Combat Crew training, became a B-52G instructor and stan-eval navigator, a T-37 instructor pilot and flight examiner, a FB-111A instructor pilot and flight examiner.
When asked what this induction meant to him, Sears replied, "I am very humbled to have been considered and selected for induction into the UNH ROTC Hall of Fame. It is truly an honor for me especially when I review the achievements and unique stories of the other Hall of Fame members."
He spent twelve years in the active duty before becoming a Traditional Guardsman with the New Hampshire Air National Guard (NHANG) in 1988 as well as a full-time airline pilot with Delta Air Lines, but not before completing his Masters Degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University in 1980.
Holding several leadership positions within the NHANG unit, Sears has continued from being a KC-135R instructor pilot, a flight commander, operations support flight commander and state headquarters director of operations, to now leading to his current assignment as assistant adjutant general, all while accumulating more than 5,200 flying hours operating a variety of military aircraft such as the T-37, T-38, T-43, FB-111A, B-52, and the N.H. Air Guard's KC-135.
He holds numerous major military awards and decorations to include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal to name a few.
Sears explained, "I accredit much of my success in the military to the three years I attended UNH in the ROTC program. I entered the program after a year and a half of enlisted time in the Air Force which provided very valuable foundation. The time spent at UNH provided numerous opportunities for developing leadership, management and interpersonal skills as well as public speaking and writing."
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) John N. Dailey, Chairperson for the UNH ROTC Alumni association said, "Our Hall of Fame helps provide positive role models for new cadets to look up to, showing several individuals that have all started out in the same place as they are, as well as gives us a way to honor those ROTC graduates that have gone on to do great things like provide outstanding service to the country, the State of New Hampshire, and /or for the University of N.H."