Colin F. Fake has led a life of service like no other. Having served four years on active-duty in the United States Air Force (USAF), eight years in the USAF Reserves, and 20 years in the USAF Auxiliary’s Civil Air Patrol, he is the embodiment of their core values.
The USAF core values inspire Airmen to do their very best at all times. The values of, Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in All We Do, are the common bond among all Airmen, and they are the glue that unifies the force and ties these service men and women to the ones that paved the way for them.
Fake was living in the small town of Panaca, Nevada when at only 19 years old he and a buddy decided to enlist in the USAF.
Panaca is an unincorporated town in eastern Lincoln County, Nevada, near the border with Utah. It is so small that as of the 2010 census, it only had a population of 963.
Like most USAF Airmen, Fake went to Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He then went on to training school to become an armament specialist.
According to the USAF career details descriptions, when a mission involves dropping explosive devices, everything needs to be in perfect working order. “Responsible for maintaining launch and release devices on aircraft, Aircraft Armament Systems specialists ensure that explosive devices can be accurately delivered from our planes.”
He was stationed at what was known at the time as Alexandria Army Air Base in Alexandria, Louisiana. However, on June 23, 1955, the facility was renamed England Air Force Base in honor of Lt Col John Brooke England who was a WWII fighter ace military aviator assigned to the 357th Fighter Group. That is what Louisianaian’s know it as today.
During his active-duty time in the USAF, Fake did one tour in Aviano Air Base, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) base located in northeastern Italy. During this overseas assignment, he was able to visit Frankfurt, Germany, the Azores, which is an autonomous region of Portugal, and North Africa. He recalls that time in his life with great delight, saying he took advantage of his leave time in order to travel.
As much as he enjoyed his active-duty time, Fake chose to leave the USAF and received an honorable discharge. He says he missed the camaraderie and chose to serve in the USAF Reserves after a few years, and went right back to providing aircraft maintenance.
Fake’s advice to young men and women considering a career in the USAF is, “Do it!” He says he does not regret his combined 32 years of service to our country.
Tragedy is what led him to serve in Civil Air Patrol (CAP) for 20 years. After his first wife died of leukemia, he needed that sense of family and purpose that the USAF can provide.
CAP is a Total Force partner and Auxiliary of the USAF. They exist to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster, and work to keep the homeland safe.
According to their website, its 56,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities. They also promote aviation and related fields through aerospace/STEM education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.
Fake threw himself into the CAP mission, which is to support America’s communities with emergency response, diverse aviation and ground services, youth development and promotion of air, space and cyber power. Their mission is what he needed at the time, and he slowly earned his way up their ranks and was promoted to the rank of Colonel while serving as the Southwest Region Commander from 1 Oct. 1998- 31 Oct. 2002.
“I enjoyed my service,” he says with a gleam in his eye. “I’d still be in if I could.”
Fake found love again and has been married to his wife Juanita for the past 12 years.
She is really happy with the care her husband is being given at LDVA’s Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home. “This is an assurance that if anything were to happen to me, he will be taken care of and that’s comforting.”
Rehabilitation at LDVA’s Jennings, Louisiana home helped get him back on his feet after several medical issues has slowed his mobility. He enjoys the ongoing activities that are available to him and says, “they sure do keep you busy here!’