In 1990, Simmons joined the United States Marine Corps and bolted his way up the ranks. Through his exceptional performance in security-related and marksmanship instructor assignments stateside and overseas—including Okinawa, Japan, Camp Pendleton, California, Parris Island South Carolina, and the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego—Simmons earned multiple awards in the USMC, USAF, and Space Force.
On active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and later as a government civilian, Simmons supported both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force for more than twenty-five years.
One of Simmons’s favorite and most notable assignments was in Germany. When asked why the German assignment was most notable, Simmons explained, “Location—it was Europe! I took four cruises in one year. Russia. Spain. Rhodes. Santorini. Greece. Naples.”
But Simmons clarified that more than just being an ideal location, Ramstein Air Base in Germany marked a significant career milestone: “It was my break into the SSO [Special Security Office].”
At Ramstein, Simmons served as a Special Security Officer for the Directorate of Intelligence, HQ US Air Forces in Europe Command, and Air Forces Africa. HQ USAFE/AFAFRICA executes the EUCOM and AFRICOM missions with forward-based airpower and infrastructure to conduct theater and global operations.
In this position, Simmons provided sensitive compartmented information (SCI) security which enabled and built enduring relationships among USAFE and NATO-allied air force intelligence organizations throughout Europe and Africa.
Why the career interest in security? Simmons said it partially stemmed from personal strengths and personality. “I was detail-oriented. I don’t talk a lot. I’m a huge introvert,” said Simmons.
But characteristics of the field itself also drew him to security.
“It’s not stagnant,” Simmons explained. “There’s a different challenge every day. It’s never the same.”