MINOT AIR FORCE BASE A commander's secretary, some have said, is someone the people both fear and love.
But with the endless requests they receive from individuals seeking access to the commander, who can blame them.
Many people know they're dealing with a secretary who has been at it for years, but never think twice about how these diligent workers gathered their wealth of knowledge, or get to know more about them.
Tracie Schwab, 91st Missile Wing commander's secretary, is one individual who is no ordinary gatekeeper to the wing leader's schedule.
While she may sit humbly and quiet, sipping her coffee and reading through her electronic work pile, many don't know that her heart and soul is still a dedicated and motivated airman.
Schwab devoted more than 27 years of service to the Air Force, retiring just four years ago as a senior master sergeant.
"I loved it," Schwab said of her time in the Air Force.
It was hard for her to retire because she was used to the structure and ways of the Air Force.
"What I liked the most was the stability and continuity of the Air Force," said Schwab. "You know what is expected of you. You know the work ethic and the discipline of the people."
However, it wasn't always roses and butterflies during her initial years in the Air Force.
As a weapons load crew member, she had to prove her worth in a heavily male-oriented career field. This was especially true after one of her unit chiefs said he did not want any females in his unit.
"For females to make it, we had to work hard, be a team player and really prove ourselves," Schwab explained.
Despite the challenges, she said she still loved working in maintenance because it was where she learned to work well with others, pay attention to detail and ultimately be a leader as a team chief. It was a job she did for 13 years, working the latter half of her career as an administrator.
Throughout her career she had the opportunity to work in various parts of the world including Saudi Arabia and Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia. However, the one duty station that was most unique to her was Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
"I worked detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay," said Schwab. "I worked with the interpreters to schedule interrogations."
She remembers working there during the media publicity concerning the detainee's hunger strike and numerous visits by congressmen to the facility.
"It was a very enlightening deployment," Schwab stated.
The most memorable moment in her career came at the footsteps of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. While on a work-related visit there with her wing commander and command chief, she was given the honor of reenlisting in the same location the president takes the oath of office and gives the inaugural address.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Schwab said.
In all her career, she took great pride in re-enlisting because it not only allowed her to continue serving her country, but it also allowed her to continue mentoring younger airmen.
"I always tried to look out for the airmen and teach the younger ones the things I learned," said Schwab.
She said she is grateful that the position she is in now allows her to continue helping others.
Having been in Minot a total of 17 years so far, she is happy there have been a lot of positive quality of life changes for the airmen.
If there is one thing she knows rings true, she said it is the phrase, "if airmen take care of the Air Force, the Air Force will take care of them."
As she arrives every morning from the gym to work and sits patiently at her desk awaiting the next phone call or email, know that there is still an airman lingering inside, dedicated and aiming high day-in and day-out.