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Belle Vernon native Brian Sabol trades military career for medical field

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Brian Sabol
Brian Sabol is shown during his retirement ceremony from the U.S. Air Force with his wife, Ronna, and their children, Brandon and Ryan Lynn.
Submitted photo
Brian Sabol is shown during his retirement ceremony from the U.S. Air Force with his wife, Ronna.

Brian Sabol was looking to save some money for college when he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1990.

Today, he is enrolled in a nursing program at the College of Southern Nevada.

“When I joined the service, I wanted to get money for college and it turned into a career 23 years later,” Sabol said.

“I liked the people and the lifestyle of the service. I wouldn't change it for anything.”

The 1988 Belle Vernon Area High School graduate recently retired from the Air Force. He currently resides in Nevada.

After graduating from high school, Sabol worked for awhile at Action Fabricator in Washington D.C.

Shortly after, he joined the Air Force. Sabol completed basic training at Lackland Air Force base, Texas, and aerospace ground equipment training at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois in the summer of 1990.

Upon completion of technical school, he was assigned to the 39th Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

From January 1991 through April 1992, Sabol was involved with Operation Desert Storm, supporting a multitude of aircraft.

Returning to the U.S., he was assigned to the 416th Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Griffiss Air Force Base, New York.

While there, Sabol was deployed in January 1993 to the 4404th Composite Wing, Combat AGE Team Dhaharan, Saudi Arabia.

In 1995, he was reassigned to the 16th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Air Force Base, Florida. During his assignment there, Sabol was deployed in 1998 to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Thunder, a response to threats by Iraq's president Saddam Hussein to shoot down U-2 spy planes, and violate the no-fly zone set up over his country.

In January 2000, Sabol received what would be his final assignment in Las Vegas, culminating as a maintenance superintendent.

He retired as senior master sergeant E-8.

He didn't stay retired long, as he is pursuing a second career. His wife, the former Ronna Rae Rathway, is a nurse.

The couple first met as students at Marion Elementary School and went to school together.

They married in 1993, after he returned from his deployment in Turkey. They were married Sept. 18, 1993, at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in Fayette City.

The couple has a son, Brandon, 17, and a daughter, Ryan Lynn, 13.

He was surrounded by his family at his retirement ceremony from the Air Force.

Among those in attendance were his father, Joseph Sabol, of Pittsburgh, sister, Tracy Sabol of Portland, Me. and his in-laws, Linda and Raymond Rathway of Perryopolis.

Sabol said he is enjoying having a little bit of freedom in retirement from the service.

Acknowledging that he did “an awful lot of traveling,” Sabol said he enjoyed his time in Florida.

“But this is the best assignment by far out here in Nevada,” Sabol said. “I really like the people.”

With his daughter playing club soccer, the Sabols travel as far as southern California to watch her play.

“Once a year, we come home, either at Thanksgiving or Christmas,” Sabol said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or