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Utah reservist appointed circuit court judge in Wyoming

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  • 419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – A Utah reservist in the 419th Fighter Wing recently landed his civilian “dream job” as a circuit court judge in Albany County, Wyoming.

Maj. Robert Sanford, who serves part time here as the 419th Security Forces Squadron commander, said his new job is one of only 24 such positions in the state.

“I’ve always had my eye on a judgeship and this is something I’ve been working toward for a long time,” said Sanford, who graduated law school from the University of Wyoming and has been serving as an attorney for the past 13 years. “This is a governor-appointed position, so when I got that phone call, I almost had to pinch myself.”

Sanford said he’s always been interested in law, and although he worked other jobs – from Spanish teacher to soccer coach to ranch hand – he finally found his way to law school “late in life” compared to others who pursue the field.

“But I finally did it, and it’s been home for me,” Sanford said.

He also wanted to join the military from a young age, and eventually joined the Air Force Reserve in 2011. Until recently, his career in the civilian world had always lined up with his military career, having served in the legal office as both an Individual Mobilization Augmentee and a Traditional Reservist. 

He became the 419th SFS commander in June.

“The switch to security forces was quite a surprise,” Sanford said. “It was an opportunity that just came my way, but when I heard about it, I was pretty excited. But my civilian and military careers are now quite different, two different worlds really.”

Sanford said the SFS mission is all about preparing to deploy, whereas the judge position is “ninety-eight percent criminal law work.”

He’s looking forward to both of the new challenges. He also said the Wyoming governor is very supportive of his part-time career in the Air Force Reserve at Hill AFB.

“I’ve had other jobs working for the State of Wyoming and they’ve always been really supportive of my military work,” Sanford said. “It’s a good fit. We make adjustments, everybody give a little bit, and it just works.”