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This Air Force vet owns a century-old piece of California history

When Gabe Greiss graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1995, he went on to fly the C-130 Hercules as part of a career that lasted 20 years and two months. He commanded a squadron that sent advisors across Latin America, and also served in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.


After he retired, his first move was to run for the State Senate in California, and while his bid failed (he finished fourth in a blanket primary), he and his family felt they won in other ways.

Gabe Greiss as an Air Force officer. (USAF photo)

"Vets make sense in politics," the retired lieutenant colonel said. "We've spent an entire lifetime putting our own interests second and still getting things done, and we need more of that."

The Greiss family lives in the Buck Mansion, a 126-year-old icon in the city of Vacaville, California. Designed and built in 1891, it received a remodeling in the 1990s.

The Greiss family kept many of the Buck family's furnishings, but also had to keep it contemporary to accommodate their young kids who "love their markers."

A C-130J Hercules aircraft from the 115th Airlift Squadron. | U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

Greiss, who described himself as having a "heart of service," admitted that being in the military meant "being present is something we lose because we're always planning for what's next."

"I've needed to slow down and really connect with my kids," he said.

What's next for Greiss includes a lot of travel to teach his kids "what it is to be citizens of the world." That means the Buck Mansion will be getting only its third owner in just under 130 years.

"We love this house, it's been great to us, but it really fit a different chapter in our lives, albeit only 16 months," he said.

Despite the resplendent setting and old world charm, Greiss said it's family, rather than bricks and mortar that make a home.

"Where ever [my wife] is and where the kids are, that's home," he said. "It can be in a tent or a 126-year-old house."