Chuck Laubach transitioned from being an Army pilot to the civilian world and he found the right place to work. “I think State Farm is very friendly to veterans,” he said. “They have a lot of respect for the veterans… I always get a letter in the mail from Phil Hawkins, our Senior Vice President, thanking me for my service and for being a veteran.”

Laubach grew up in the Houston area and graduated high school in Pasadena, Texas. Right out of high school, he enlisted in the Army Reserve. His MOS was a 12B, Combat Engineer and he did his training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. He remembers the winter in Missouri as being a cold one. “I went there in January, and I’m a Texas boy, and during our bivouac, it was three below zero, so I learned some valuable lessons on how to survive in the cold weather.”

After his initial training was over, he returned to Texas and enrolled in the University of Houston. There they had an Army ROTC program that they were recruiting for. “I joined the Houston ROTC program and was able to do that while I was simultaneously doing my Reserve time, and that’s what got my military career going,” he said.

Photo: Chuck Laubach

Everything fell into place for him there: he competed for a scholarship while at the university. In his last two years there, he was on a full scholarship which he said, obligated him to Army service at the conclusion of his schooling.

Once he came on active duty as an officer, he branched to the Medical Corps — he wanted to go to aviation but the graduating class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, got first dibs. So, Laubach got the Medical Corps. But, he still got to fly as the Medical Corps had slots to fly their own aircraft to MEDEVAC flights.

Meanwhile, the first Gulf War was heating up.

He was selected for the flight program as a Medical Service Officer and found himself on Ft. Rucker flying UH-1 Huey helicopters, as they are what all aviation cadets are trained on first. His first duty station was Ft. Carson, Colorado and the 571st MEDEVAC, where he transitioned over to UH-60 Blackhawks. By the time his flight school was finished, the first Gulf War was already over.

His unit split its time between Carson and Ft. Bliss, TX; Laubach did the majority of his flying at Ft. Bliss. He completed eight years of active duty and transitioned to the Reserves when the second Gulf War started. Mobilized to be part of the 802nd Medical Command, he was slotted to be the S-3 Air Officer on the staff of a Brigadier General.