HUDSON -- Frank Demma had been serving in the U.S. Army for 12 years when he was medically evacuated from Afghanistan and diagnosed with lung cancer.
For many, that would have been the end of their military career, but Demma kept serving.
“That’s probably my greatest accomplishment,” Demma said. “The fact that we were able to overcome all of the health problems to continue to meet the standards that are set by the Army to continue to serve.”
Now the Hudson High School graduate is retiring after more than 20 years.
“I’ve done everything within these 21 years that I could have ever wanted to do,” Demma said. “Now it’s time to see if I can go make a difference somewhere else.”
Demma first joined the Army when he was 33, after a career in law enforcement in Fort Worth, Texas.
Demma worked in counterterrorism, with several deployments over the years to Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Republic of Georgia, South Korea and Turkey.
He followed the path to become a warrant officer, something that usually takes 10-12 years. Already 33, Demma didn’t want to wait that long. After just two years, he put in application to become a warrant officer, and was selected.
“That put me into a very technical aspect right off the bat,” he said.
His first assignment was a commander in South Korea, followed by the special agent in charge of a unit in Italy, where he and his family spent 9 years.
“We raised the kids, actually put them in the Italian school system. One was in third grade, one was in first,” Demma said. “So we were very fortunate.”
When he returned to the states, Demma led a defensive counterintelligence cyber program before becoming the first Battalion Command Chief Warrant Officer at Fort Meade.
“That was, for me, that was probably my best job,” Demma said.
The counterintelligence team he led at the time was spread out throughout the United States, and he focused on traveling to those locations, getting them their needs and training operations.
Demma ended his career at the Pentagon, working on a joint assignment as the only Army representative.
The excitement and potential to have an impact on the world is what kept Demma dedicated to the career for so long. In counterintelligence and counterterrorism, every day had real-world missions.
“Knowing that every single day you’re doing something to potentially make the world a better place, that’s huge,” he said. “What a great sense of pride.”
The career, and the experiences it was able to bring him and his family, will be a lasting impact on his life. His family has lived in Europe and Korea, and traveled to Japan, Hawaii and more, all experiences that couldn’t be replicated with a traditional job.
“The worldwide experience that my children and my family was able to acquire during all those years, that’s just a tremendous thing,” he said.
The strength and connection of his family, especially his wife Glenda, is what made the career possible, he said. His wife spent years playing mom and dad, handling everything at home while also having her own phenomenal careers as a government employee, Demma said.
“If you don’t have that, there’s no way that I would have ever been able to be successful,” he said.
Demma will now be working with Deloitte & Touche, LLP in Texas. He’s looking forward to the change of pace with military retirement, including traveling with his wife.
“Looking to be able to spend more family time, looking to be able to spend a little more time traveling, definitely looking forward to this next adventure in my career,” he said.