All in the family
By Dave Smith, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
/ Published May 12, 2015
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Coming from a family with a long history of serving in the Air Force, one might think it was inevitable for Tech. Sgt. Sean Dastas, 21st Operations Support Squadron and Tech. Sgt. Pamela Garside, 21st Medical Group to become Airmen. But that is not how the story played out.
Dastas and Garside are brother and sister serving together for the first time as members of Team Pete in their 10 and 11 year Air Force careers. Garside, a dental technician, came to Peterson Air Force Base about a year ago followed by her brother, who works in the intelligence field, about three months later.
Along with Dastas and Garside, their father was an Airman, their mother is still an active-duty Airman, their younger brother is an Airman, their step-sister is an Airman, Dastas' wife Laura was an Airman, his brother-in-law is an Airman and Garside's husband Matt was an Airman. Becoming an Airman in their family is akin to joining the family business it would seem, but the path leading the two to Colorado Springs is not that cut-and-dried.
For Garside it was about a change in her life's direction. After high school she decided to follow a typical path of college and funding her education by holding down a job while she attended classes. With work and course loads wearing on her she decided to do something different, but not unfamiliar.
"(The Air Force) was pretty much a family trend, so here I am," she said.
Dastas didn't say that family tradition pulled at him, but after working in the food service industry for a time he knew it was not a long term option.
"I didn't want to work in food service," he said. His next move was no surprise: he joined the Air Force.
In the ensuing years the nearest they came to being at the same base was when Garside was at Joint Base Andrews, Md., and Dastas was at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. Both spent time at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, but they missed each other by three years. But while she was assigned to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., the time came for Garside to change locations and their time apart would not last much longer.
"I put in about eight BOP packages to leave Scott," she said. "Peterson came up and I said 'why not?' and I got it."
Not long after when Dastas was looking for his next assignment location he said he chose Peterson from the list and got it.
"Unbeknownst to me she had orders," he said.
But Garside's assignment, as Dastas found out, was not as unknown as he thought. As it turns out, Dastas' wife and Garside were in cahoots, working to get assigned to the same place.
"That explains why she agreed right away when I mentioned Peterson," Dastas said, shaking his head.
While they were growing up they had some friends in the same circles, but the two were not especially close. Now they find a level of comfort in the nearness of their family connection.
"Now we have something in common," Garside admitted. "We love it here. With experiences at different bases it's about friends. Now it's family and that makes a good base experience."
"It's pretty awesome," Dastas agreed. "Because there's that support network and it's nice to get together."
When Dastas arrived at Peterson, another family link was more firmly established -- he finally met his brother-in-law Matt. The two families coincidentally live only about a mile apart.
When asked if they would encourage their children to take up military service when they are old enough, the two expressed similar thoughts.
"I won't push it. It's part of their life and if that's what they want to do, I'll support it," Dastas said.
"I will not dissuade him," Garside said. "But it's got to be his decision. It's a voluntary service and he will not serve to his full potential if pushed."