DAYTON - Maj. Joseph H. VerStraten, who entered the U.S. Air Force in 1994 and received his commission through officer training school in 1999, was honored on Jan. 10 at a retirement ceremony at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
He is the son of Flora L. VerStraten-Merrin of Richmond and the late Joseph H. VerStraten Sr., a native of Steubenville and a graduate of Steubenville High School in 1994. He was entered in the U.S. Army for two years as well.
A 20-year veteran, VerStraten served as the deputy chief, nuclear requirements and programs division, strategic deterrence and nuclear integration directorate. He developed and managed nuclear plans, policies and strategies in Air Force Materiel Command and for the headquarters of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson.
RETIRED — Maj. Joseph H. VerStraten, right, is shown at his retirement ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He is the son of Flora VerStraten-Merrin and the late Joseph H. VerStraten Sr. With VerStraten are, from left, Katy Burns and Curtiss E. Petrek, retired colonel. -- Contributed
The retirement ceremony was narrated by Cap. Katy Burns, a friend of the VerStraten family. Retired Col. Curtiss E. Petrek conducted the ceremony.
The major was presented with certificates, medals and gifts.
VerStraten thanked his family for supporting him during his service, which included three deployments.
He is married to Mary Bernadette McCann VerStraten and they have four daughters, Samantha, Sabrina, Sierra and Sophia.
His military history includes graduation from basic training and the Security Forces Academy at Lackland AFB in Texas in 1994. He was selected to attend Officer Training School where he was a distinguished graduate in 1999.
VerStraten's assignments have included Security Forces Apprentice at Barksdale AFB, La.; information management apprentice at Wright-Patterson, flight commander; combat readiness and vehicle operations at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo.; flight commander aerial port operations, Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal; instructor, logistics readiness officer course, Lackland; logistics flight commander at Camp Bullis, Texas; central command airlift validator, Mac Dill and squadron commander at Eielson AFB, Ark.; senior afghan logistics adviser at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan; executive officer at Wright-Patterson; and director of staff; logistics director at Camp Jefferson in Afghanistan.
Under VerStraten's leadership, his units have earned the best logistics readiness unit PACAP two years in a row and best air terminal in the Air Force.
His education includes a bachelor of science degree in public administration, Park University, 1999; squadron officer school in residence, 2005; master of science degree in administration and organizational leadership, Central Michigan University in 2013.
VerStraten's awards and honors include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Medal with device, Air Force Commendation Medal with three devices, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with three devices, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border and two devices and the NATO ISAF Medal with device.