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Airman finds home in Mobility’s Hometown

The Kessler family poses for a photo with their goats on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The family moved to their ranch in October of 2020 and have since amassed a number of goats, pigs, ducks, roosters and more. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

The Kessler family poses for a photo with their goats on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The family moved to their ranch in October of 2020 and have since amassed a number of goats, pigs, ducks, roosters and more. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, holds a piglet on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The mother, Sooie, gave birth to 10 piglets in May of 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, holds a piglet on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The mother, Sooie, gave birth to 10 piglets in May of 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Desiree Kessler, wife of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, holds a baby goat on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. Desiree is a hairstylist and grew up in Arkansas around farm animals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Desiree Kessler, wife of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, holds a baby goat on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. Desiree is a hairstylist and grew up in Arkansas around farm animals. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, and his wife, Desiree Kessler, trim a goat’s hoof on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The Kessler family started their ranch in October of 2020 and have built every structure from the ground up. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, and his wife, Desiree Kessler, trim a goat’s hoof on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The Kessler family started their ranch in October of 2020 and have built every structure from the ground up. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Milka the cow gives U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, a kiss on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. Kessler was born in Alzey, Germany and joined the military in July of 2000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Milka the cow gives U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, a kiss on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. Kessler was born in Alzey, Germany and joined the military in July of 2000. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Dominique Kessler, daughter of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, holds a duckling on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The duckling hatched at the beginning of August 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Dominique Kessler, daughter of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, holds a duckling on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. The duckling hatched at the beginning of August 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Dominique Kessler, daughter of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, feeds Milka the cow a carrot on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. Milka is the only cow on the ranch and has a knack for getting out of her pen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Dominique Kessler, daughter of U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, feeds Milka the cow a carrot on 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma, Aug. 5, 2021. Milka is the only cow on the ranch and has a knack for getting out of her pen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Members of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron pose for a picture with baby goats Ozzy and Cher at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, June 15, 2021. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, brought the goats from his ranch to visit Airmen and boost morale within the squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Members of the 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron pose for a picture with baby goats Ozzy and Cher at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, June 15, 2021. U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, brought the goats from his ranch to visit Airmen and boost morale within the squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

From left, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Williamson, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) vehicle maintenance journeyman, and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Dominique Bell, 97th LRS fleet management and analysis journeyman, pet a baby goat at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, June 15, 2021. The goats, Ozzy and Cher, are from the 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma and were born just a few days before they visited the Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

From left, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jordan Williamson, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) vehicle maintenance journeyman, and U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Dominique Bell, 97th LRS fleet management and analysis journeyman, pet a baby goat at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, June 15, 2021. The goats, Ozzy and Cher, are from the 1AB Ranch in Altus, Oklahoma and were born just a few days before they visited the Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amanda Lovelace)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Many Airmen have passed through Mobility's Hometown since its activation as a multi-engine flight training school in 1943, the majority of whom regard Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma as a temporary stop for a small time in their careers. For some, however, Altus becomes much more than a short-term landing place.

Such is the case for Master Sgt. Thomas Kessler, 97th Logistics Readiness Squadron Vehicle Management Flight superintendent, and his family: his wife Desiree, and his two daughters Dominique and Hayden.

Thomas Kessler was born in Alzey, Germany, in 1981. After his family moved to the U.S. in 1993, he finished school and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.

Throughout his career he’s traveled around the world, experiencing a plethora of communities and cultures. The Kessler family could’ve settled in any one of those places, but something about Altus felt special to them.

“We did the big towns ... we did L.A., California, Little Rock, Arkansas, Europe, we've kind of done everything,” Thomas Kessler said. “Altus grew on us. We like how close everything is and we love the people here. Out here, everybody helps everybody.”

Once the family decided to settle here, they sold the house they’d lived in since they arrived at Altus in July of 2016, and moved into their dream home.

Right after moving in, the family knew they wanted animals. Little did they know, what started out as two goats would turn into 1AB Ranch: home to more than 25 animals and counting.

“After the goats we got pigs, then a donkey … and it just kind of grew,” Thomas Kessler said. “As we expanded our fences, the animals kept growing. There was one pregnancy after another."

Recognizing the joy their animals brought to their lives, the Kesslers decided one day to bring a few baby goats into their workcenter for other members of their unit to enjoy.

“Everyone who had a chance to meet the goats and play around with them were smiling,” Thomas Kessler said. “Everyone in our flight enjoyed it and they kept asking me to bring them back. After that, all the other flights were interested, so I brought them to those flights and they played around for a little bit. It just kept on growing and growing. Now if somebody wants me to bring them, I’ll bring them.”

While the Kesslers have used 1AB Ranch to serve the community and their Air Force family, their main goal is to use their experiences to strengthen the bond and connection of their immediate family.

“By living this lifestyle, we’re constantly staying busy with the animals, building something or learning something. It keeps us off our phones and brings us closer as a family,” Desiree Kessler said. “To see the excitement on the kids' faces when we have new babies makes it all worth it. The girls jump up, run outside, they get so excited. Those little happy moments bring us together.”

From hatching ducklings from eggs to building new enclosures for their animals, the Kesslers hope their work on 1AB Ranch establishes a family legacy they can be proud of for years to come.

“My idea is, in 10 to 20 years when the girls come back with their families, they can say, 'Hey, we built this,’” Thomas Kessler said. “We really enjoy doing this as a family.”

ALTUS AFB FLICKR ALBUMS

Click on the link below to see all the photos from Altus AFB's official ceremonies.

Altus AFB Flickr Albums