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Enjoying the ride

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Nilsa Garcia
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The day-to-day demands of service can be stressful for any military without a means to decompress once the uniform comes off.

 

For the past three years, Tech. Sgt Joshua Schmitz, 22nd Operations Squadron survival, evasion, resistance, and escape specialist, has relieved by focusing his efforts on his bright yellow 1929 Ford Model A.

 

“Having a hobby you enjoy outside of work is important so you can stop thinking about the job when you’re not on the clock,” said Schmitz. “It can help you get away from the stressful life we in the military live every day.”

 

After buying the car on a whim in 2018 while he was stationed at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, N.J., Schmitz has found passion in maintaining and driving this antique vehicle.

 

“My dad was a mechanic growing up, so anytime I had a problem with my car I told him what it sounded like and he would tell me how to fix it,” said Schmitz. “I didn’t know anything about the maintenance that would have to go into it before purchasing the car, but everything so far I’ve done myself.”

 

He quickly realized that with owning an antique automobile, there came a few other quite surprising features.

 

“There is no air conditioning, the front windshield actually opens and pushes out so that you can get more airflow,” said Schmitz. “There also isn’t any heating either.”

 

Not fazed by the lack of air flow, since buying the car Schmitz has taken the time to update other features of the car for his own safety.

 

“I’ve installed seatbelts which were not mandatory back then, installed blinkers and updated the headlights and taillights because they were very weak,” said Schmitz. “Back then, the concept was to be seen, not necessarily to see at night.”

 

His newfound love of his car made him want to share it with others. In his free time, Schmitz enjoys taking his car to local car shows to give the community a chance to experience the antique automobile up close.
 

“I found that at car shows nobody lets anyone touch their vehicles, so I wanted to change,” said Schmitz. “I let people sit in the car, get in the open air back seat and honk the horn.”

 

The reaction he has received from the community so far has been nothing less than supportive.

 

“More than anything I love seeing the smile on people’s faces when they see the car,” said Schmitz. “If I’m parked at High Park fishing, half the time I don’t even get to fish because I’m excitedly talking to someone about the car for so long.”