Famous Veteran: Sinbad

Sinbad headshot.
Comedian Sinbad didn't enter the Air Force aspiring to a career in the military, but he credits his service with helping him find the right career path. (Courtesy photo)

Plenty of successful individuals attribute their livelihoods to following very specific goals, but sometimes a base passion and hard work can be just as effective as a guide. While Sinbad, born David Adkins, was growing up, he wasn't sure what he wanted to become. He had a general desire to be famous, but wasn't sure which direction to take.

It wasn't until Sinbad joined the military that his direction in life began to take shape. During a talent show, Sinbad was the only performer to try a comedy routine. He had spent time writing out an entire bit, but it flopped. Later on, one of his fellow airmen told him to drop the preset routine and try to make people laugh by being himself.

In an interview with Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs, Sinbad said:

"I was an Air Force man back in 1979. I started off doing comedy for Tops in Blue [a touring performance ensemble of active-duty airmen]. I tried out for Tops in Blue back in, oh, God, man, 1980. I did that because I knew comedy was what I wanted to do. I was kind of lost in my life, and it was because of the Air Force -- although I was a crazy airman; I was a nut when I was in the military. Having been in the military, I know what it's like to be away. As cool as these places are, you're still away from everything.

"You know, I think what they're doing these days -- it's not so much just about the military. It's about life. There's a lot of things you can take advantage of now, like education and stuff. You can walk out with a degree; you can walk out with a lot of stuff if you do it right. But when you're young, you ain't thinking about that stuff; you're just hangin'. And I remember a lot of the older guys saying, 'Hey, take advantage of this stuff,' but I didn't. But I did in that I did Tops in Blue and I'm here now, so in that sense, I did."

As soon as Sinbad left the Air Force, he jumped right into the world of entertainment. Toward the end of the 1980s, he performed on the show "Star Search" and won. Because of his performance, he landed a role on "The Redd Foxx Show."

He went on to act in various sitcoms like "A Different World" and "The Sinbad Show." Although he's made other forays into film and television, he's primarily remained a stand-up comic. He's even performed for an event put on by Spouse Buzz.

For airmen or other service members aspiring to fame and prosperity, Sinbad offers the following advice: "The Air Force made my dreams come true. Although my dream was not a career in the Air Force, it made my other dreams come true. I came in to play basketball. I wanted to be on the Air Force basketball team. I was amazed at the athletes in the military.

"Look at what other dreams have come true -- bands, music ... So much music has come out of the military. Heatwave, in the '70s, man, one of the baddest groups ever, man, they were in the military stationed in Germany. So use it."

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