Career Day sparks passions

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jorrie Hart
  • 114th Fighter Wing

No matter what your passion is, there is a good chance you’ll find it here at the South Dakota Air National Guard (SDANG). Recruiters hosted a career day event for potential new recruits and their families at Joe Foss Field, S.D., Nov. 2, 2018. 


“Career day is an opportunity for recruiters to open our doors to the community and show what we actually do within these walls.” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Snyder, 114th Fighter Wing recruiter.


“A lot of the people in the community don’t know what the Air National Guard does. They hear the jets, they just don’t know what we’re doing.  It’s a good way to showcase different careers and opportunities that we have.” continued Snyder.


The event kicked off with breakfast and a short video exploring the vast career opportunities within the Air National Guard. 


At the conclusion of the video, Lt. Col. Travis Schuring, HQ SDANG director of personnel/A2, highlighted the various careers available and how they have specifically contributed to an assortment of local and global missions.  Our global mission was on display for attendees that morning as crew members could be seen unloading an MD-11 jet airliner that had returned from an overseas deployment with cargo and personnel. 


Col. Nathan Alholinna, 114th Fighter Wing commander, acknowledged the extensive impact the SDANG has on the overall global mission of the Air Force. He highlighted the unit’s combat specific mission by stating, “That’s what we do, and that’s why we’re here.”


Alholinna enforced the importance of our mission, but made clear his number one priority as commander is the Airmen. “I’m here to take care of your children.” Alholinna said to a room full of young adults and their parents. 


Over 50 individuals and their families traveled from over 30 different communities to see what the Air National Guard has to offer. 


Cordell Murtha, a prospective Airman, said he heard about career day while interacting with Technical Sgt. Bo Ellefson, 114th Fighter Wing recruiter, at a college fair in Mitchell, S.D. Murtha is a high school junior attending Parkston High School. Murtha’s familiarity with the unit goes beyond that of his peers since he has two older brothers who have enlisted in the SDANG. He became interested in the Air Guard after attending meetings with his brothers as they went through the recruitment process. 


“Listening to what the Air National Guard had to offer for jobs and getting to work with jets sounded sweet”, said Murtha.  After hearing so much about the unit from his brothers, he was looking forward to experiencing the career possibilities himself. 


When asked if there was a particular shop he was eager to learn about, his reply was that he was keeping his options open but it sounded to him like being a crew chief would be exciting.


In continuation of the day’s events, recruits and their families were escorted to a location near the runway to watch the launching of two F-16 aircraft.  While many stated they had previously heard jets flying over their communities, few had the opportunity to see them in person until this experience.


The conclusion of the event included the opportunity for attendees to explore first-hand the inside of a jet engine, walk through the unit’s Mobile Emergency Operations Center, and climb the ladder of an F-16 aircraft to view the cockpit.  Subject matter experts were at each station to answer questions about the career fields.


While many participants had previously met with a recruiter, attending the event helped them clarify what career path they might pursue and enforced their desire to become a part of the Air National Guard family.


Staff Sgt. Snyder anticipates the next SDANG career day event will occur in April 2019 and encourages anyone with friends or family interested in what the Air National Guard has to offer to check it out.