Former lieutenant shoots for troops

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Olivia Bumpers
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs
Military spouses are sometimes faced with the challenge of figuring out how they fit into the equation. Some find that supporting base events or handing out welcome baskets to brand new airmen satisfies the commitment they made to the military life.

However, for one particular military spouse, delivering cookies is no comparison to shooting her beloved 12-gauge shotgun.

"[Shooting shotguns] is better than baking cookies," said Rebecca Dickey, wife of U.S. Air Force Maj. Jeremy Dickey, 71st Rescue Squadron HC-130P Combat King pilot.

"Not everyone feels that delivering baked goods to dorm residents fulfills their duty as a military spouse," she added.

Dickey's passion is not only a hobby. Shooting sporting clay is leading her to compete in local and national sporting clay shoot tournaments. The tournaments will be used to fundraise the two charities, "That Others May Live," which helps the Air Force search and rescue operations and the "Military Warriors Support Foundation," which partners with country music star, George Strait, to give custom built homes to severely wounded combat operators.

Dickey is also the only shooter representing Air Force combat search and rescue charities. She said her prior four years of military service as a Public Affairs officer motivated her to raise funds for both charities.

"While I was deployed, I spent a lot of time following members of Special Forces," said Dickey. "I used to wonder to myself about how young and how committed to the mission these guys are."

Despite her decision to leave the Air Force to further her public relations career, Dickey still finds herself surrounded by the search and rescue community due to her husband job as a pilot for a CSAR squadron.

"[Her husband's job] is what makes it more special for me," she added.

Her motivation to fundraise for these charities began four years ago, while stationed at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. After her daughter was born and diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, she found that she needed stress reliever during a hectic time in her life.

"It was a very emotional and stressful time for my husband and me," said Dickey. "He [Jeremy] would tell me to go to the spa to relax and get a massage but that wouldn't work for me.

"I began to shoot sporting clay with my husband and that is the only thing that gave me an outlet at the time," she added.

During her time in Texas, she met her current team captain, Laura Berry, who took her and her family under her wing.

"Becky [Dickey] is like my daughter," said Berry. "We met when she worked at a public relations company. While she was interviewing me, she noticed my hunting and shooting trophies and told me about her husband who was interested in the same thing.

"Ever since then, our relationship and bond has grown," she added. "I'm proud of her growth and that she has taken this opportunity to compete and train hard for something she feels so strong about."

To keep up with her skilled teammates, Dickey trains weekly. She said that it is challenging to train all the way in Georgia, while the rest of her team is in Texas.

"Our team, "Lady Laura and the Smoking Hot BB's," has a couple of professional shooters, an Olympian and a couple of strong competitors who are all from Texas," said Dickey. "I used to train with them when we were stationed there."

Despite training by herself, Dickey said that she finds it easier to train when she is isolated. She also mentioned that she feels the pressure to represent her team and to train to win the overall goal of raising money for both charities.

"If I raise the money for these charities and win, I feel like I will have greatly helped and done my service as a military spouse," said Dickey.

Dickey is one of 100 shooters from around the U.S and the only one from South Georgia competing to raise $1 million for military charities.

"Each of the 20 teams will shoot for a specific military charity. If your team wins, you'll get a portion of the money to give to that charity," said Dickey. "The first $500,000 will go to the Special Forces Charitable Trust and the rest will be split among the top five teams.

"We will have between $25,000 and $75,000 to give to both of our charities," she added.

Each member of her team has to raise their pledge of $10,000 for the national shooting competition, Remington Great Americans Shoot, Sept. 20, in Liberty, Texas.

"As I continue to raise money to meet my pledge, a local shooting complex in Quitman, Ga., is hosting a tournament for me, Aug. 23," said Dickey. "All of the money people pay to shoot in the 50-round sporting clay tournament will go toward sponsoring me as I compete in September at the national tournament."

When she is not training for her upcoming competition, she spends her time as a mother of two young children, 5-year-old, Morgan and 2-year-old, Jake.

Her busy schedule doesn't stop just at being a sporting clay shooter and mother. Dickey is also a writer who published her first book of a five book series, "The Crowded Camper goes to Little Rock," about her and her family living in a recreational vehicle for a year while her husband did training for the Air Force traveling around the country.

Dickey understands how hard it is for military spouses to find ways to get involved. She advises others to have an open mind and try new things.

"Don't sit and wait at home for your spouse to come home," said Dickey. "You never know how much you can make a difference in someone else's life when you take the time out to [help others]."

Even though this is not Dickey's first time competing, it is her first time fundraising for troops and hopes to continue shooting as a hobby and compete again someday.

"I will definitely keep shooting after this is over," said Dickey. "It is my absolute favorite date to go on with my husband.

"Right now I'm a part of such an amazing experience," she added. Who knows where my shooting will lead after this? All I know is that I will always keep shooting."