Paul Maple’s time in the military gave him the opportunity to travel around the world. Now the Batesville native calls Hawaii home.
After graduating from Batesville High School May 25, 1985, he started Air Force Basic Training a month later and was on active duty until Oct. 1, 2010.
“I chose the Air Force over the Navy in December 1984 because sea duty for six months didn’t interest me that much. It’s ironic that I have opportunity as a government civilian to work with the Navy now. I was looking for a way to pay for my college education.
“Once I joined, I discovered my love for travel abroad. I spent 18 out of 25 years in overseas assignments from September 1990 to September 2008. I probably spent more time in overseas locales in the Air Force than I ever would in the Navy. And once I discovered that I could obtain my education while still traveling the world, the career was launched. It didn’t hurt that my uncles and father, who served in the military – Navy and Army – during World War II and the Korean War, would always tell me how they wished they made a career in the military.”
Since he moved around to various assignments, Maple attended “great universities” throughout the country. “I surprised myself with a change of mindset toward education from high school to university where I discovered a love for education.”
“My military specialty began in administrative and personnel human resources arenas from 1985-96, before I became more involved in computer maintenance and then, ultimately, becoming involved in intelligence work as a sensitive compartmented information facility manager, where my duties revolved around personnel security, physical security and computer/information security from 2000 until retirement. I was pretty much the gatekeeper of highly classified information. My highest security clearances were a U.S. Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information with a full scope polygraph and NATO Cosmic Top Secret Atomal.
“In my Air Force career, I have been assigned to the following locations: Holloman Air Force Base, Alamogordo, New Mexico, from 1985-90; Comiso Air Station, Comiso, Sicily, from 1990-91; Royal Air Force Base Upper Heyford, near Oxford England, from 1991-93; Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul, South Korea, from 1993-96 on a joint-service assignment with an Army transportation battalion; Incirlik Air Base, Adana, Turkey, from 1996-98; Aviano Air Base, northern Italy near Venice, from 1998-04; Joint Intelligence Center – Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from 2004-07; Osan Air Base, Pyeongtaek, South Korea, from 2007-08; and Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
“My deployments have taken me to some areas that I was already assigned in support of the mission, plus Prince Sultan Air Base, Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia, and Shirkin Air Base, Tel Aviv, Israel, with the U.S. Army Patriot Battalion.”
The veteran reveals, “My spouse, Welhelmina “Menchie” Lacson Maple, hails from Mindanao, Philippines, and Melbourne, Australia. Our children, Roxanne (spouse Dennis) and Andrew and our three grandchildren, Mason, Zane and Billie Raine, still live in Melbourne.
“We moved to Honolulu on the island of Oahu in October 2018, and we live in Aiea, a city that is less than 10 miles from Honolulu .... I have been a contracting specialist at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility since November 2018.”
“Contracting specialists must be skilled in negotiation and contract law terminology. We are often called shrewd negotiators because we work to achieve the best possible deal for the government. Fair and reasonable is our mantra. My duties ... include creating, examining and monitoring contractual agreements between the Navy and contractors that are looking to score a contract to fix the dedicated ships that are assigned to our shipyard and other ships to include international ships that come in sporadically for repair. I must be aware of the legislative and regulatory issues that may be related to these contracts that I oversee. In addition, I revise contracts due to new or revised contract laws and regulations when required.”
Even though he is halfway around the world, Maple still remembers his roots in southeastern Indiana. “My parents were Robert J. and Wilma (Culbertson) Maple Sr., and my siblings are Robert Jr. “Bobby” (spouse Virginia) ... and Pam (spouse Harry). She pretty much became our matriarch after our mother passed on. Through both of my siblings, I have several nieces and nephews. My family has been rooted in Batesville since the early days of the city. I am very happy to see that Batesville is now being promoted statewide as one of the most livable small cities in Indiana.”
Looking forward to Veterans Day, he announces, “I am the pro-life director for the Knights of Columbus State of Hawaii Council. I will be spending Saturday at a pro-life symposium where I will be promoting the Knights of Columbus, our insurance programs and our many program activities that make up the Knights of Columbus, such as feeding the poor, the food bank and Special Olympics. On Monday, Nov. 11, I will be volunteering with the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization at a memorial ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.”
He notes, “If you are looking for an exiting career to travel and see the world, while defending the United States from the ills of terrorism, then the military is the career for you. You learn so much about yourself that you never knew before. I was always interested in learning more about the world in general and a history teacher that I had at BHS, coach Willis Dunker, bolstered my intrigue by sharing his experiences in the military during World War II. I learned that it was everything that he said and more.
“You don’t have to spend an entire career like I did in the military, but even one two- to four-year assignment – depending on the branch you join –would be just as awarding, and when you separated from the military, you would have earned money toward a college education or technical certification of your choice.”
Reminiscing about his military career, Maple observes, “My call sign in the Air Force was ‘Radar.’ I have seen many things throughout my military career, good and bad. Let’s face it, war isn’t beautiful ... but you feel that the time you gave in service to this great nation will always be something that you cherish forever.
“A family that supports your commitment is something that makes the journey easier and that much more rewarding as the family is part of the mission as well. My family has given up a lot in support of my endeavors and my military life overseas. When I was feeling bad about being away from home for such a long time during the time I attended my mom’s funeral, my sister, Pam, told me to shake off the regrets as my parents, Bobby and her knew where I was and were proud that I was in the military.”