New recruit swears in at court in front of judge - and mom

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Torrey Gray's service in the Michigan Air National Guard began in a courtroom, under the watching eye of a Michigan 3rd Circuit Court judge.

Gray took the oath of enlistment to begin his service in the U.S. Air Force and Michigan ANG in the courtroom where his mother, Wayne County Sheriff's deputy Tonya Gray, works as part of the court's security detail. During a break in other judicial proceedings, Torrey Gray was sworn in as Judge Daniel Hathaway and a few other court officials watched.

"It was a welcome change to our courtroom," the judge said.

Gray wanted to be sworn in with his mother present. Given her work schedule, his recruiter, Tech. Sgt. Maygan Rhodes, arranged to have the recruit sworn in at the courtroom in downtown Detroit.

"Most of our recruits want to have their family present when they swear-in, so when Torrey's mother couldn't get free to come to the base, it only made sense to go to her," Rhodes said.

For Rhodes, a recruiter with the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base for about two years, the trip to the courthouse was the first time one of her recruits enlisted off the air base.

"I think this raised some public awareness today about the Air Force," she said. "We will definitely be open to doing this again."

Gray, who recently graduated from Carlson High School in Gibraltar, Mich., will be assigned to the Services Flight of the 127th Force Support Squadron upon the conclusion of his Basic Military Training. The new recruit said he also intends to attend Henry Ford Community College where he will play basketball and continue his education. Gray said he hopes to eventually earn a degree with a major in literature.

To help further his education, Gray will be able to receive the Reserve G.I. Bill, which will cover most, if not all, of his expenses at Henry Ford. Gray also enlisted in an Air Force career field that carried an enlistment bonus - he will receive an additional $20,000 in bonus money, in addition to his regular pay, in installments as he passes certain milestones during his six-year enlistment.

Gray said he wanted to join the Air National Guard due to the influence of his mother and grandfather. Gray's mother, Tonya, is a sergeant first class with the 1462nd Transportation Company of the Michigan Army National Guard. His grandfather, Webb Gray, served in the Marine Corps in the 1950s.

"I wouldn't have missed this for the world," Webb Gray said, beaming with pride moments after his grandson was sworn in by 1st Lt. Robert McLean, 107th Weather Flight commander at Selfridge.

"Swearing in new recruits is the best part about being an officer," said McLean, who previously served as an enlisted Airman. "Swearing a person in is an opportunity to get a person off on the right step, to have a positive experience as they are beginning their military career and that can carry forward for their whole enlistment."

Information on career opportunities in the Michigan Air National Guard is available at www.127wg.ang.af.mil/careers or by contacting the 127th Wing recruiting office at 586-239-5511.

Comprised of approximately 1,700 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 marks its 97th year of continuous military air operations in 2014.