AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar — Being in the Air Force Reserve gives Airmen the opportunity to serve their country while following their dreams to become just about anything in life. For some, the dream might be to be an actor or a musician, but for one 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Fuels Flight Airman, who is deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, his dream was to become a police officer.
Tech. Sgt. Michael Kuehler, who is deployed from Luke Air Force Base and is a Morton, Texas, native is not your average sized Airman. He stands at 6 feet 7 inches tall, looks like a football player and has a powerful handshake, which can probably crush a coconut.
Some days going to work requires him to don a military uniform while he serves the nation as a fuels operations supervisor providing fuel to military aircraft, and other days he wears a police officer uniform and serves his local community by protecting the people who live there. He is also a full-time single father of two sons.
“I thoroughly enjoy both of my jobs, and I feel like a lucky person to be able to do two things that I have a deep passion for; serving my country and helping people,” Kuehler said. “Although it is hard at times to manage my schedule between the two jobs, it is worth it.”
Kuehler joined the Air Force in 1993 to serve his nation and joined the Reserve after eight years of active-duty service.
“I come from a long line of military service members,” Kuehler said. “Pretty much everyone in my family has served. I knew as soon as I got out of high school I wanted to join the Air Force, and I did.”
Kuehler worked as a fuels Airman, but wanted to cross train into security forces because he always had a passion for law enforcement.
“During my time serving in active duty, there were no positions open to cross train into security forces, so I came up with a plan to still serve my country and follow my passion for protecting the public,” he said. “I joined the Phoenix Police Department and have had a great experience working there for the past 13 years.”
On the police force, Kuehler works as a patrol officer in one of the most dangerous parts of Phoenix. He receives all types of calls, from domestic disputes to armed robberies. No day is the same, he said.
During his deployment he supervises 21 Airmen who fuel all the aircraft deployed to Southeast Asia. He said his job there and his police job at home share some similarities.
“The Air Force set me up for success to become the best police officer I can be,” Kuehler said. “And my job as a police officer has helped me be more patient with people, which helps me supervise. Both jobs focus on being fit and I enjoy being physically fit to be an Airman and a police officer.”
Staff Sgt. Michael Poitevien, a 379th ELRS fuels Airman who is deployed from Yokota Air Base, Japan, and is a Long Island, N.Y., native said, Kuehler is one of the best supervisors he’s ever worked with.
“He is very well-mannered and dedicated to professionalism,” Poitevien said. “He is a great mentor, which I have learned much from. I am sure he takes his duties as a police officer as seriously as he does being an Airman.”
Kuehler said neither job is more rewarding than the other, and he is grateful to be able to follow his two passions while providing mentorship to his two sons and fellow Airmen.
“My police job is phenomenal because I get to help people and put bad guys behind bars,” Kuehler said. “Being an Airman is an honor, and I love that I help to provide fuel, which keeps aircraft in the air and in the fight. I love both of my jobs, and I am just grateful to have the opportunity to serve in two different uniforms.”