Michael Kaplan Master Sergeant (Ret.) Michael Kaplan entered the Air Force in September 1981. He served as an avionics technician on the F-111 Aardvark until it was retired, in 1998. He then retrained into the graphic arts career field, where he became the visual information manager at his base and quickly rose through the ranks. During his 25 years of service, he supported multiple world-wide missions while being assigned to overseas and stateside bases. “The Air Force positively impacted my life through the mission, people, and serving the country,” Kaplan said. “You just can’t put a price on that.” Kaplan retired in September 2006 and continues to serve as the lead civilian photographer for the U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs Office in Colorado Springs.