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Tap Gaoteote

Technical Sergeant (Sep.) Tap Gaoteote entered the U.S. Air Force through the Delayed Entry Program in September 1997, however he did not leave for basic training until January 1998 when an opening for his job was available. During his 16 years in the U.S. Air Force, he served as an aircraft armament systems. Gaoteote was responsible for loading, unloading and positioning munitions on aircraft. He recalls his five deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the highlights of his career as well as some of the scariest moments of his life. During a deployment to Southwest Asia, a member of Gaoteote’s team was taking pictures of a classified area. When they arrived at a checkpoint, the Iraqi military put the barrel of their weapons in his face in an attempt to scare them all because he was the biggest guy in the group. In September 2013, Gaoteote decided to transition into the Air National Guard. With the information Gaoteote was given during his pre-separation class, he came up with the idea to start his own business; a food truck that serves Airmen traditional Samoan food at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. To help his business grow, Gaoteote uses management and prioritizing skills as well as the ‘creating a process’ skills he learned while in the Air Force.