Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 13 November 2009 00:00
Deborah Marquart Liddick entered the United States Air Force (USAF) in April 1989. Over the course of the past 20 years and six months, the Westbury native has moved up the ranks, earning various promotions, including being named Colonel in September 2009.
Liddick is a 1984 graduate of Carle Place High School, where she was active in the French Honor Society and orchestra and served as captain of both the varsity field hockey and varsity lacrosse teams. Following high school, she enrolled in the four-year Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
“ROTC gave me the opportunity to receive an undergraduate degree, develop discipline, confidence, and skills to grow into an officer while attending college,” Liddick told The Westbury Times.
In 1989, after graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Liddick received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF and, in March 1991, was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Two years later, she moved up the ranks to captain. This was followed by a promotion to major in July 2000 and lieutenant colonel in April 2005. Her promotion to colonel was recognized Sept. 4 at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes with a ceremony featuring opening remarks by Lieutenant General Loren M. Reno.
The rank of colonel, said Liddick, is usually attained after 22-25 years of active duty and is the ultimate rank attained by a majority of commissioned officers. “Only one out of 100 commissioned 2nd Lieutenants will be promoted to colonel. Of the 318,000 airmen there are approximately 4,000 colonels,” she said.
Dedicated to the Air Force – and her country – Liddick is currently attending the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF) at Fort McNair in Washington DC. According to Liddick, ICAF is the premier Department of Defense Joint Professional Military Education institution for national security resource management. Upon completion of the 10-month ICAF program, which covers national strategy and resources management for national security, she will earn a master of science in national resource strategy and the opportunity to advance even further.
“ICAF prepares selected military officers and civilians for senior leadership positions,” Liddick said, adding, “My goal after school is to be hired as a maintenance group commander. If selected, I would lead between 1,200 to 1,800 airmen who maintain aircraft, build munitions and load weapons onto the aircraft.”
Throughout her 20-year career, Liddick has supported multiple combat deployments. From August 1990 to March 1991, she serviced 212 days as a munitions officer in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Some four years later, Liddick headed off to serve two, 90-day tours as an A-10 Squadron maintenance officer for NATO Operations Deny Flight. She served in Aviano, Italy, from January to March 1994 and August to October 1994. Her most recent deployment included 101 days – from December 2003 to March 2004 – in Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean, as an Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Commander with a B-1 bomber group during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.
She has been the recipient of major awards and decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, an Air Force Achievement Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor and 3 oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with one oak leaf cluster and the Air Force Recognition Ribbon with one oak leaf cluster along with the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with two bronze stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Armed Forces Service Medal, a NATO Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kuwait Liberation Medal Government of Kuwait.
Additionally, Liddick was named USAF Lt. General Leo Marquez Munitions Maintenance CGO of the Year (1991), 17th Air Force Weapons Safety Officer of the Year (1993), USAF Fuels Officer of the Year (1997), Air Force Association Top Performer of the Year (2000) and AF/A4/7 Field Grade Officer of the Year (2007) as well as recipient of the Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award, Nellis AFB (1997).
Liddick is the daughter of Frank Marquart of Westbury and Charlie Conboy of Portland, OR. Her brothers are Brian Marquart and Timothy Marquart of Westbury and Frankie Marquart of Hollywood, MD.
The Westbury native attributes her success and most recent promotion to “a lot of hard work” along with a belief in herself and what the USAF is doing. Liddick also credits friends and family, including her husband, Terry S. Liddick, a wildlife biologist pilot with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Laurel, MD.
“My husband is the one person who keeps me straight and grounded. Every day he reminds me to do my best; he is my sounding board, and my biggest critic. He keeps things in perspective,” she said.
Also on Liddick’s “thank you list” are those who have influenced and guided her throughout her career by providing mentorship and guidance. “During the last 20 years I have come into contact with so many exceptional officers, senior non-commissioned officers and airmen who have given me food for thought. Some of those have become an inspiration to me. In fact some of them are the reason why I am here today,” she said. “Without their inspiration and example I might not have gotten this far. Without a doubt, these individuals are the most awesome professionals, friends and family that I have.”
In Liddick’s opinion, military service is about dedication. “It is about serving our country. I believe serving in the military requires self-discipline, dedication, hard work, physical fitness and time away from the family,” said Liddick, adding that there are numerous benefits that go along with the service. “The military will provide specialized training, pay for advanced education, provide travel within the U.S. and overseas, provide full health benefits (a big plus) and a good salary. [Also], the military provides you with an extended family.”
For those seeking to join the military, Liddick offers the following advice: “I say, ‘go for it!’ It will change your life for the better! The Air Force is a great decision for any young person looking for a rewarding and challenging job that will change their life for the better!”