Jeff, nearing retirement from the Wisconsin National Guard, recently felt the call to serve overseas like the countless men and women he helped deploy.
Local 5's Millaine Wells shows us his incredible journey.
Jeff Paulson signed up for an ROTC scholarship in high school. He never dreamed it would become a career.
Paulson " Small town values that you grow up with, and I guess it just led me down that path"
After working is way through the ranks he became the Director of Aviation for all of Wisconsin. After more than 3 decades of service, he had never deployed overseas. He voluntarily converted to a lower rank to serve in the Middle East. While in Afghanistan he turned 56.
Paulson piloted countless medical missions while in Afghanistan. One even gained national attention on CNN.
It was a routine mission in the warzone to get help for a young girl. When the dust settled after they had landed the Marines came carrying their comrade. He was their new patient. The young Marine had a rocket propelled grenade lodged in his leg. Paulson and his crew didn't miss a beat. The Marine is now doing well. News Paulson was happy to hear, considering he never finds out the fate of many patients.
Paulson " You don't dwell on it real long because its on to the next thing. Gotta be ready for the next mission.
His mission now brings him to his hometown of Ripon to start a new career of sorts. Paulson " I'm a Grandpa now. Two granddaughters were born while I was gone."
Paulson isn't hanging up the uniform completely. He plans to stay active in the guard.
"I've seen a lot of changes in my career and hopefully I've been able to make some kind of mark in what the guard has become or at least what aviation in the guard has become."
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