Sometimes a change of scene is just what you need to jumpstart new growth in life. For 1984 Galt High School graduate Sue Cagle-Whitehead, moving to Galt just before her eighth-grade year was just that, and throughout her career with the U.S. Air Force, a new location has often meant a new promotion.
“I think moving to Galt was the best thing for me,” she said. “Before I moved, I was more of a follower in school and with friends, but after I moved to Galt, I came out of my shell and became a leader.”
Involved in the student government throughout high school, first as sophomore class secretary and then as vice president her junior and senior years, the prospect of college didn’t appeal to Cagle-Whitehead. Instead, she decided to join the military after graduating from high school.
“Honestly, I just heard better things about the Air Force. But I did meet with an Army recruiter,” she said, “and he was so rude to me I would have never joined the Army. He was old school and didn’t think women should be in the military.”
But that didn’t put a damper on Cagle-Whitehead’s plans, and she turned 18 while going through basic training.
“[Galt High School] taught me how to respect authority, teamwork, the value of true friendship, and how to be my own person, all of which helped me make it through basic training, which has led me to where I am today,” she said.
After completing basic training, she was stationed in Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan with a temporary stint in Kwang Ju, Korea. Her career with the Air Force started with three years as a Supply Specialist, ensuring aircraft were equipped and ready for duty at all times, and then she was retrained and started working as a Personnel Specialist.
“I worked as the noncommissioned officer in charge for reenlistments where I complete reenlistment paperwork [for] over 1,000 enlisted airmen,” she explained. She then worked in customer service, mainly issuing paperwork for enlisted airmen, retirees and dependents to get their ID cards.
In this time, she moved again to McChord Air Force Base in Washington, where she married Michael Wolfe in August 1991 and had her daughter in July 1993. Then she was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where they welcomed their son in 1996.
“I stayed in as long as I did because I enjoyed it. It was one of the best jobs I had,” she said. “The reason I got out when I did was because, when President Clinton was in office, there were cutbacks to the military and they were offering buyouts. It was a tough decision, but I was number three on the remote list, which meant I would have to go overseas for a year without my family, and my daughter was two and I couldn’t imagine leaving her, so we decided it was the best decision.”
Cagle-Whitehead went on to work for the U.S. Postal Service in Galt and Sacramento for a time and then worked for the federal government as a secretary and then in human resources with the Air Force at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas.
As of February 2019, Cagel-Whitehead has been working as the Functional Chief of Human Resources Specialist for Recruitment and Placement at Randolph Air Force Base. In this position, she manages a team of 12 HR specialists and oversees filling positions across all stateside Ar Force bases. She currently has over three decades working for the federal government and hopes to retire when she becomes eligible in three years. Until then, she aims to be the best supervisor she can be.
She and Wolfe divorced just prior to their 23rd wedding anniversary in 2014. After not having seen each other since 1990, she reconnected with Tom Whitehead, to whom she had been married for nearly two years when she was 20. The pair remarried in June 2018 in a ceremony officiated by Cagle-Whitehead’s son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family and scrapbooking.