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Three more years? Michigan Airmen say ‘yes’

150411-Z-VA676-220 -- A group of Michigan Air National Guard Airmen take the oath of enlistment during a ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., April 11, 2015. Thirty Michigan ANG Airmen re-enlisted for three years or more during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Several dozen more have extended their existing enlistment or re-enlisted for shorter periods. Administering the oath is Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing commander. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

150411-Z-VA676-220 -- A group of Michigan Air National Guard Airmen take the oath of enlistment during a ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., April 11, 2015. Thirty Michigan ANG Airmen re-enlisted for three years or more during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Several dozen more have extended their existing enlistment or re-enlisted for shorter periods. Administering the oath is Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing commander. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

150411-Z-VA676-250 – A group of Michigan Air National Guard Airmen pose with Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Bob Dobson, 127th Wing command chief, following a re-enlistment ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., April 11, 2015. Thirty Michigan ANG Airmen re-enlisted for three years or more during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Several dozen more have extended their existing enlistment or re-enlisted for shorter periods. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

150411-Z-VA676-250 – A group of Michigan Air National Guard Airmen pose with Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, 127th Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Bob Dobson, 127th Wing command chief, following a re-enlistment ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich., April 11, 2015. Thirty Michigan ANG Airmen re-enlisted for three years or more during the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Several dozen more have extended their existing enlistment or re-enlisted for shorter periods. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Thirty Airmen of the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing re-enlisted for three or more years in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. Several dozen more have extended their existing enlistment or re-enlisted for shorter periods.

The 30 who re-enlisted for three or more years were honored during a brief "You Make A Difference" ceremony during the April Unit Training Assembly of the 127th Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

"The 127th Wing is an amazing team. And it is amazing because of people like you," Brig. Gen. John D. Slocum, the 127th Wing commander, told re-enlisting Airmen during the ceremony. "You make us the great team that we are."

Staff Sgt. A.J. Walker was an Air Force veteran in the early 2000s and working at an airport in Pontiac, Mich., not far from Selfridge. During some runway maintenance at the air base, some Michigan Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft were using Pontiac as an alternate site.

"I got to know some of those guys then and one thing led to another," Walker said of his return to military service. "Now, maybe to some people it sounds crazy, but I love my job. I find it really enjoyable working with the people and the aircraft."

Now, Walker works on KC-135 Stratotankers with the Guard, serving as a member of the 191st Maintenance Squadron.

Master St. Richard Baudis, a quality assurance specialist with the 127th Air Refueling Group at Selfridge, was among those who received a commander's coin from Slocum during the ceremony. For Baudis, his re-enlistment was actually his first as a member of the Michigan Air National Guard. He has a total of 29 years of military service, first in the U.S. Navy, then in the Oklahoma and Wisconsin Air National Guard and now with Michigan.

"An opportunity came up in Michigan and here I am," he said. "I'm just a couple of months in with this unit, but already it's clear that this was a good choice."

Among those working behind the scenes to organize the short ceremony was Senior Airman Deborah Nowosad. After high school, Nowosad served in the Air Force for four years as a supply specialist. After her honorable discharge, 17 years went by before she happened to meet a Michigan Air National Guard recruiter in a social setting.

"We started talking and I was already over 40, so I thought it was far too late," Nowosad said. "But for veterans, prior service time is subtracted from your age for re-enlistment. I made it with a few months to spare."

When Nowosad returned home from her initial training to serve as a personnel specialist with the 127th Force Support Squadron, she said her twin sons had a surprise for her: they had both enlisted in her absence, one in the Navy and one in the Marine Corps.

"That was a surprise, but the good kind of a surprise," she said.

Now, Nowosad works in the 127th Wing's retention office, helping to encourage the wing's Airmen to continue their service in the ANG.

"No matter what, at the end of the day, I love my country," she said. "That's why I am still serving and proud to be able to do so."

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command operations 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 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.