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Traveling farmer gives farewell salute to military

The Gazette-Virginian’s “traveling farmer” who began his military career 38 years ago in 1973  when he joined the U.S. Air Force at the suggestion of his father finally feels it is time to retire.

 

David Hudson, who went from the Air Force into the Air Force Reserve as a meteorologist on board the C130 aircraft, has flown with the Hurricane Hunters.

“From 1979 until 1983 I flew inside of every hurricane that hit the United States,” said Hudson.

He also spent time in the National Guard, served as an Alaska State Trooper and ultimately as the National Guard Bureau Senior Enlisted Leader.

While he held the title of National Guard Bureau Senior Enlisted Leader, he worked directly under a Four Star General. His duties were to represent the 457,000 men and women in the Army and Air National Guard, provide testimony to the Senate and Congress about military life and represent the National Guard around the world.

“It’s much better living on Hudson Heritage Farms in Halifax County than living and working in Washington, D.C.,” said Hudson.

During his time as an Alaska State Trooper, he was promoted through the ranks and held every typical law enforcement job from teaching, working undercover narcotics and SWAT. He finished as the commander of the criminal investigative bureau for the state.

“For several years in Alaska I was the coordinator for the Law Enforcement Torch Run. We raised several hundred thousand dollars for the Special Olympics. The Olympians are awesome, and truly it’s an honor to work for them,” said Hudson 

 “We hosted the World Winter Games in Alaska for Special Olympics. I was selected to fly to Greece and bring back the Olympic flame for the event. What a special honor that was,” he added.

Although Hudson agrees that law enforcement officers everywhere have a difficult job, in Alaska there were only 249 state troopers covering 550,000 square miles. During his 20 years there, he did everything from patrol, basic recruit to serving as captain, selling narcotics undercover and running a SWAT team.

“I was very lucky to have a varied career,” said Hudson.

Travel has been a big part of Hudson’s life, and this summer he plans to visit his 100th country and become a Centurion, which will make him eligible to join the Century Club. 

“Members have to have visited at least 100 countries,” he explained. Before joining the club and traveling to his 100th country he will travel to the Middle East next month.

During his military assignments, he enjoyed visiting soldiers and airmen as they performed their jobs in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Djabouti, Africa, Kosovo, Europe, Columbia, South America and Mongolia. He was also a special guest of the National Science Foundation and actually visited the South Pole.

“Very few people ever get to go there,” said Hudson.

“I spent several nights in the middle of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, you have never seen so many stars. Even more than when I visited the outback in Australia. The Galapagos Islands are quite unique, so is Machuu Pichuu in Peru. Of course the Taj Mahal is surreal when you view it for the first time,” he added.

When Hudson retired May 1, his plans call for staying happy and healthy and continuing to seek out new adventures when not spending time on the farm he shares with his wife, Denise.

“Besides, what does retirement mean anyway? Just another of the many transition points we go through while here on earth,” said Hudson.

“I could not have had the opportunities to do many of the amazing things I have done without the 30 years of support from my wife, Denise. She is the ‘real’ farmer in our family, and we all know that farmers are truly great American heroes,” Hudson said.

He believes his wife is happy he will have one less commitment on his plate now that he’s a retiree, and “I hope she is happy to see me a little more,” he added.

Hudson and his wife, Denise, own Hudson Heritage Farm located at 14242 River Road in South Boston.