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The Internet can be a very impersonal arena, so I'm providing this page to give you some information on who I am, what my background is, and why I specialize in Security Forces Christmas Cards.

My full name is Larry Mitchell Oates, Jr...some of you may have known me as Sergeant Oates, Lieutenant Oates, or Captain Oates...but today, I go by 'Mitch'.  I'm an Army brat, and while my father was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, I attended E. E. Smith Sr. High.  I was also a Boy Scout, and a Law Enforcement Explorer.  I earned my Eagle Scout award in 1978.  When my dad retired from the Army, we moved back to Columbia, South Carolina.  After High School, I enlisted in the South Carolina Air National Guard, went to Basic Training at Lackland AFB (BMTS 3709), and completed Security Police School in 1980 as an E-1/81130.   I accepted a full-time security position at McEntire ANG Base, and worked full time while I attended the University of South Carolina.  I received my undergraduate degree in International Relations with a Criminal Justice minor in 1984, and the following year withdrew from the SCANG as a Staff Sergeant to attend OTS.  I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in February, 1986 and sent off to the Security Police Officer's Basic Course at Lackland.

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My first assignment was to Dyess AFB, TX where I promptly filled out a 'dream sheet' for transfer to Europe.  In the meantime, I met a nice girl from Abilene who was studying art at TCU, and we started dating.  Within a year, my transfer to USAFE came through, so she and I got hitched and promptly PCS'd to RAF Alconbury, UK.  From there, I PCA'd to RAF Molesworth to work in a joint USAF / RAF Regiment GLCM Ground Defense Force Squadron, as a Defense Force Commander.  Great job...hated to see GLCM go away...but it did, due to the INF treaty.  I was transferred to Ramstein AB, Germany in 1988, spent several years as Shift Commander and Assistant Operations Officer, then received orders to Sembach AB.  While at Sembach, I was caught in the Great Captain RIF of '92, and separated in December.  I divorced later that year, and went to work in the civilian sector for the Boy Scouts of America in Chattanooga, TN.  Since then, I have worked in several fields, including a 2 year stint in Saudi Arabia as a civilian security contractor.  I got remarried almost three years ago to a lovely and talented girl who just opened her own salon.  I am now an account manager at WLTY and WSCQ in Columbia, SC.  I get to write commercials as well as sell advertising, so it gives me a creative outlet.

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My ex-wife, a very talented graphics design illustrator, made the up the original four cards while we were in Germany.  Three of the cards are cartoons, and the fourth is from an illustration entitled The Christmas Watch - taken from a photo at the West Gate of Ramstein AB.   I have been meaning to offer these illustrations as Christmas cards for the past several years, but it was a daunting task until internet use became widespread.  The cards didn't exactly take the Air Force by storm last year, but the response was promising enough for me to try again.  I have been learning how to work with computer graphics, so I will be adding some new cards, hopefully every year.  If you have suggestions or card ideas, please let me know, and I'll do my best to oblige.  

Thanks go out to my friends, Security Forces colleagues and many of the Peacekeepers who took the plunge and ordered cards last year.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy my modest site, and wherever you are, stay safe, and God bless.  Oh, and below is a little message for any who would attempt to attack the United States and what we stand for.

-Mitch Oates


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