William Self first discovered his abilities tinkering with anything mechanical. So he wasn't surprised when a military aptitude test confirmed his potential and pointed him toward a career as an aircraft engine mechanic.

After a 21-year military career, Self now works as an Industrial Property Management Specialist/Facilities Manager at the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command's Aviation Center Logistics Command at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Self enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1987 because "he was challenged by Uncle." He returned to civilian life after his four-year commitment, but soon found he missed the military lifestyle. He joined the Army in 1994 and never looked back, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant in 2011.

"A lot of people think they're born to do something," he said. "I knew this was my calling."

While his military position trained him to work on all Army aircraft engines, Self said the Chinook was his favorite.

While he served both stateside and overseas, Self's favorite assignment was with the 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky from 1994-1999.

We were a tight-knit group of professionals," he said. "We really took care of each other."

He also values the time he spent as a recruiter in Florence, Alabama, from 1999-2002.

Self's promotion to First Sergeant was the highlight of his career, reaching a rank he always wanted to attain.

"I enjoyed the teaching and mentoring," Self said, recalling the time he spent as a First Sergeant. "I had an awesome career in uniform serving this great nation and owe any and all success to the Soldiers I served -- they made me look good."

His current position at Fort Rucker brings Self closer to his hometown of Columbiana, Alabama, where he still has family.