U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Douglas Rozelle has been “aiming high” since 1983 when his parents, Dana and Larry, now retired U.S. Air Force master sergeants, welcomed him into the world at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. Later, his career took a different path because of his manager at a local pharmacy.
Rozelle was going to college, majoring in pharmacy, and working as a pharmacy technician when his manager wouldn’t give him the hours he needed.
“I actually joined the Air Force as a bluff,” said Rozelle, who was recently selected as the Defense Health Agency’s Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. “I wasn’t getting the schedule that I needed for school. I said I would join the military if they didn’t give me better hours. Here I am 17 years later.”
Rozelle, a paramedic, knew that he would eventually join the U.S. Air Force. Growing up the son of two noncommissioned officers had a strong impact on his sense of duty and love of country.
“I always knew that I would join the Air Force. I grew up around it, and it was always my goal,” said Rozelle, senior enlisted advisor at Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute, a division of DHA’s Education and Training Directorate at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. “I have always had a strong calling for the duty and patriotism that comes with the uniform.”
Rozelle advises U.S. Navy Capt. Kimberly Broom, DMRTI’s director who manages staffing, readiness, morale, career progression, and good order and discipline for all members assigned to the organization. He is also responsible for five departments that provide combat trauma, emergency management, humanitarian assistance, and joint medical operations training to more than 200,000 Department of Defense, international, and interagency medical partners.
Broom said that Rozelle is an exceptional leader who works tirelessly to ensure organizational success by ensuring the sailors, soldiers, and airmen have the skills and resources to succeed.
“He is also the first to roll up his sleeves and directly support our more challenging missions,” she said. “Master Sgt. Rozelle recently flew to Jordan to support U.S Naval Forces Central Command in executing the largest maritime exercise in NAVCENT history.”
Rozelle and his DMRTI team developed a trauma-based scenario for medical professionals centered around Advanced Trauma Life Support using the Combat Casualty Care Course model. He was also selected to attend the exercise and facilitate execution of the scenario, which included 24 physicians from nine partner nations—to include the first collaboration between Israel and Arab nations.
What does Rozelle do when he’s not flying halfway across the world supporting military exercises? It is something almost as challenging—taking care of a family—with Steven (16), Jonathan (12), Catherine (7) and five-year-old twins, Addilyn and Gracelyn with his wife, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Aubrey Frey.
“Being a blended, dual-military couple can be hard sometimes as we try to find that balance in work and life,” said Rozelle, who met Aubrey eight years ago. “When it comes to such a large family, it can be tricky. However, being dual military can make it even more challenging to manage.”
Rozelle said understanding leadership over the years and a solid support structure to giving him and Aubrey the ability to contain the chaos. Currently, she is on an eight-month deployment with only two months remaining.
“It isn’t easy being in a dual-military family,” said Rozelle who finds the time to volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food banks in the community. “What helps is that we speak military, so we understand that things come up last minute or the needs of the military sometimes have to take priority over personal decisions, and we know that.”
Rozelle credits Aubrey for his professional success and personal satisfaction. He said when that he first met her eight years ago that he was lost, disgruntled with life and work, and that he was fine with going to work, doing his job, and going home.
“She continually pushes me to be a better airman, leader, follower, mentor, dad, and friend daily,” he said. “Without her, I may still be a lost staff sergeant looking for my place in the world. Aubrey’s support has been nothing short of amazing.”