Reasons for Enlisting Vary from Airman to Airman

  • Published
  • By TSgt Dan Heaton
  • 127th Public Affairs
Who joins the Air National Guard? People with a specific goal and people looking to find one.

Matt Jarecki was in JROTC in high school and knew he wanted to serve in the military, but didn't have an exact plan in mind. He talked with a recruiter from the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base one day this summer and asked what his options were. Today, he's soon to be headed to Air Force basic military training and then to technical school to eventually serve as an A-10 Thunderbolt II crew chief with the Michigan Air National Guard.

"I honestly didn't know what I wanted to do when I walked in the door," Jarecki said. "I knew doing something mechanical was probably where I would end up."

Jarecki, who was laid off from a job as a civilian firefighter, said he thought that serving in the Air National Guard would give him a variety of options. In addition, he said, he was attracted to the discipline required to serve in the Air Force.

Jarecki is one of several people currently serving in the 127th Wing Student Flight, a transitional unit where new enlistees serve until their basic military training date arrives. After their basic training, the enlistees either go directly to technical school or return to their new unit at Selfridge and attend technical school shortly thereafter. While serving in the student flight, incoming Airmen learn a few of the basics of life in the Air Force and Air National Guard, such as the various rank insignia and how to salute. Knowing such basic information in advance of basic training helps the new Airmen perform well at basic training.

Also currently serving in the 127th Student Flight are Cal Gray and Tyler Mamps.

Gray, who graduated from Vassar High School in Vassar, Mich., earlier this year, said he enlisted to help finance his college education. He hopes to eventually earn a degree in mechanical engineering. In the Air National Guard, he is slotted to serve as a crew chief on a KC-135 Stratotanker, one of two types of aircraft flown by the 127th Wing at Selfridge (with the A-10 being the other).

"I always wanted to serve in some way, so after I graduated, I came to talk to a recruiter," Gray said.

Mamps will serve as a sheet metal technician in support of the A-10 aircraft.

"Most of my family has served in the military in some way," Mamps said. "But I will be the first in the Air Force."

All three of the new Airmen were able to enlist under an incentive program offered by the Air National Guard that allows them to begin wearing the rank of an Airman 1st Class immediately upon graduation from basic military training. Under normal circumstances, an Airman must serve for one year in the Air Force before being advanced to Airman 1st Class. The higher rank equates to higher pay.

Information on careers in the Air National Guard in general is available at For details on specific opportunities at Selfridge, contact the 127th Wing Recruiting Office at (586) 239-5511.

Comprised of approximately 1,600 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operation Command by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marked its 95th year of continuous military air operations in 2012.