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Air Show Leads to Service in Michigan ANG

Airman 1st Class Dillon Terhaar, a crew chief with the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, ensures that all tools are accounted for as 107th Fighter Squadron pilot Capt. Pete Taylor prepares for a training mission in an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 12, 2021.

Airman 1st Class Dillon Terhaar, a crew chief with the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, ensures that all tools are accounted for as 107th Fighter Squadron pilot Capt. Pete Taylor prepares for a training mission in an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, April 12, 2021. Airmen from the 127th Wing are participating in Green Flag-West, a Joint Force combat exercise, to ensure maximum combat readiness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dan Heaton)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

When he was just a boy of 6 or 7 years old, Airman 1st Class Dillon TerHaar attended an air show at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek, Michigan. There, he got to look into the cockpit of an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. At that moment, he decided to join the Air Force.

Today, TerHaar is a crew chief working on A-10s for the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, which is based at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in metropolitan Detroit. In April 2021, he participated in his first major exercise, Green Flag-West, based at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, helping to launch A-10s on simulated combat missions.

“This is exactly what I signed up for,” TerHaar said. 

TerHaar is a traditional member of the Michigan Air National Guard, meaning he serves generally about one weekend per month and a couple of weeks per year on active duty. He’s also the first in his immediate family, at least since World War II, to serve in the military – all thanks to that long-ago air show. 

In addition to his military service, TerHaar is a full-time student at Western Michigan University, where he’s enrolled in the school’s aviation program. 

TerHaar said he hopes to be able to become an Air Force pilot after his college education is complete. 

Green Flag-West is an integrated air and land combat exercise. The Selfridge-based A-10s participating in the exercise are flying close air support missions in support of U.S. Army ground forces and other missions. Exercises such as Green Flag-West allow the Michigan Air National Guard’s Citizen-Airmen to maintain a high degree of combat readiness.