Ammo Airmen find a 'change of pace' with Michigan ANG

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- One is an accountant. The other is an EKG technician in a hospital.

This week, they are building bombs.

Two Michigan Air National Guard Airmen say they were looking for a different kind of challenge - a "change of pace" from their civilian careers when they enlisted. They found it in the Ammo Flight of the 127th Maintenance Group.

"I wanted to do something different, a new environment to be challenged in," said Airman 1st Class Porshia Montgomery, who has been in in the Michigan ANG for just about a year. "This is about as different as it gets."

Montgomery, who works as an EKG technician at a hospital in Flint, Mich., when she isn't on military duty, is among some 180 Michigan ANG Airmen who are spending two weeks at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona in late January and early February, honing their military skills. The training, known as Snowbird, allows the Michigan Airmen to take advantage of the mild weather and nearby weapons ranges to maximize their training time.

For Montgomery, the Snowbird exercise is her first major military operation since graduating from her technical school as a munitions specialist.

"My only complaint is not enlisting sooner," said Montgomery.

Senior Airman James Hampton works in his civilian job as in the accounting and payroll department of a gas distribution company. In his five years in the Air National Guard, he's also been assigned to the Ammo Flight of the 127th, which is home stationed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, in suburban Detroit.

"Everyone at work on Monday is always asking me what I did in the Guard," Hampton said.

"And everyone always wants to know if I am a pilot. I tell them 'I build what they drop,'" he said.

While on the Snowbird missions, the Ammo troops are working on a number of different munitions that they don't have the opportunity to train with while at Selfridge.

"So we are running every one through every aspect of the build," said Master Sgt. Patrick Hallet, who is supervising the afternoon shift for Ammo during Snowbird. "We want each Airman to touch each part of the process. And our newer staff sergeants or staff sergeants-to-be are gaining experience as the crew chiefs of the build process."

Taking a turn as the crew chief of the build on this evening is Senior Airman Todd Osborne. A veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Michigan Army National Guard, Osborne joined the Michigan ANG three years ago after a 12-year break in his service.

"The ANG is letting me finish what I started and this is a good group of people to do it with," Osborne said.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command operations by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.