New Selfridge Airmen Seek to Broaden Horizons

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
Three of Michigan's newest Citizen-Airmen plan to take advantage of the various educational benefits available through the Air Force and Michigan Air National Guard to help them reach their goals.

Travis Bowman, Winston Williams and Gregory Mosley each will be assigned to an aircraft maintenance position in the 127th Maintenance Group at Selfridge Air National Guard Base upon the completion of their Basic Military Training (BMT) and Technical School training. The 127th Maintenance Group maintains and supports the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft mission at Selfridge. All three of the men have dates set to begin their formal military training over the next few months.

Until they attend BMT, the future Airmen participate in the monthly Unit Training Assemblies - commonly referred to as "drill weekends" - of the 127th Wing at Selfridge. During those weekends, they are assigned to the Student Flight, where incoming personnel learn the basics of military life and complete preliminary tasks such as completing necessary paperwork to apply for a military security clearance.

End Goal In Focus
Bowman was attending community college, but said he felt like he needed a change, something to give him a boost. That's when he started exploring a career in the Air National Guard. He's to leave Michigan in February to attend BMT at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, followed by about seven months at technical school, where he will become trained as an avionics specialist.

"The end goal, I want to design the next generation of aircraft," Bowman said. "Joining the Guard allows me to help with the finances of going to school and get some direct, hands-on experience at the same time."

Bowman said he hopes to eventually earn a mechanical engineering degree to further his career goals.

"The post 9/11 G.I. Bill is going to make a big difference in me being able to continue to go to school," Bowman said.

Listen to Grandfather
Williams, a graduate of the Michigan Institute of Aviation & Technology, has worked for the past several years as an aircraft mechanic for a major logistics organization.

"My grandfather has been telling me for years, you should join the Guard," Williams said. "Finally, the light went on."

Williams' grandfather, George Davidson, retired as a master sergeant after serving for 22 years as a member of the Michigan Air National Guard.

"My grandfather prodded me and prodded me and now I wonder why I just didn't listen to him right away," Williams said.

After completion of his military training, Williams will be assigned as an aerospace propulsion technician, working on jet engines and related systems.

"This allows me to add military aircraft to my resume, to pick up experience working on different systems," he said. "It expands my horizons."

Diversify Myself
Mosley is taking a break from his studies at Wayne State University, where he is majoring in political science, to attend BMT and related training. He, too, will be assigned to the maintenance group, working on the A-10.

For Mosley, working as an aircraft mechanic will be something considerably different than his intended civilian career, where he hopes to serve in some type of city government or other public administration capacity.

"Joining the Air National Guard provides me with several benefits," Mosley said. "First, I'm interested in serving my country and my community. It provides a means to help with the financial costs of finishing my degree and then attending graduate school. And it also gives me a chance to diversify my own personal set of skills."

"I like to tinker with my car, with my motorcycle. You never know what the future may hold and the National Guard offers me a diverse set of opportunities," Mosley said. "I'm excited about that."

Student Flight
All three men said they believe their introduction to military life via the Student Flight program will pay dividends at BMT.

("Student Flight leader 1Lt. Jaresha Obey) is very determined that we get to Basic ready to succeed," said Bowman. "She's worked with us on military etiquette, facing movements, rank structure, a lot of things that I think will be a benefit."

Mosley said even while he's attending the Student Flight sessions, he feels like he's already benefitting from his early days in the Michigan Air National Guard.

"You're meeting new people, with different backgrounds, different ideas," he said. "It helps to broaden who you are as a person."

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.