Sometimes I don't even leave the neighborhood to find someone interesting to talk to. In fact, I didn't even leave my front yard when I met Tammi Harper who brought her two daughters over for a play date with my daughter.
While they played, we talked.
Born in Spain and raised in an Alaska town called North Pole, this unassuming lady, I find out, was stationed in France in 1999 and flew in Operation Allied Force. And she didn't fly in a tiny craft, either. She was the navigator aboard the Hawaii Air National Guard's KC-135 and was part of the team that refueled the 240 NATO combat aircraft in flight.
Sometime before 1999 and while in flight school, she met her husband, Mike, a Navy P-3 NFO. After they married, he took an assignment in Hawaii, and Tammi relocated from the 49th state to the 50th. "They happened to have the KC-135 there, and that's what Alaska trained me to fly." She elaborates, "Alaska paid for my training but I took a job in Hawaii, and they just didn't like that too much." Nevertheless, she got to serve her country on an important humanitarian mission over Kosovo.
Today, in the 31st state, and being in management and programming for the FAA at McClellan-Palomar Airport, Tammi helps keep the skies over Carlsbad and much of Orange County safe.
Tammi, Mike and their two daughters have lived in Carlsbad for four years and say they love it. "Carlsbad is a beautiful village, has a small town feel and there are ocean views all around," she says. "It's costly to live here, but we have a choice and we choose to live right here. We hope to retire here; we really hope to."