Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. --
For Airman 1st Class Nea Shafer, service in the Michigan Air National Guard as an aerospace propulsion technician is just one part of her life in the aviation industry.
The Citizen-Airman serves part-time in the 127th Maintenance Squadron, working on the jet engines on A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. She has a full-time job working for a cargo airline and she's also a student majoring in aviation management at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. She formerly worked as a baggage handler at Detroit Metro Airport.
"I love working on the engines, getting hands on and turning the wrenches," said Shafer, who has been a member of the Air National Guard for about a year and a half.
"I really like my job with the airline, too, but there I work a desk job, managing travel logistics for the carrier's pilots," she said. Her position with the Air National Guard allows her to get “hands-on” with the aircraft.
Shafer said she hopes to become a pilot someday, possibly with the Michigan Air National Guard. In the meantime, she said, she enjoys being a part of the Guard and working around other people who share her passion and interest in aviation.
Among her co-workers is Senior Airman Jon Jierge. He recently completed a four-year enlistment as an aerospace propulsion technician, working primarily on B-52 Stratofortress bombers at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
"When my enlistment was up, I knew I wanted to keep going in the military, but I also wanted to move back home," Jierge said. "Joining the Air National Guard allowed me to keep on going."
The Michigan Air National Guard is hiring for members who join with no prior military service, such as Shafer, as well as veterans who served in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, such as Jierge. In addition to pay and on-the-job skill training in a variety of career specialties, the Guard also recently expanded tuition assistance program to support students. Many career specialties also include a sign-on bonus of up to $20,000. For information on joining the Michigan Air National Guard, call (586) 239-5511.