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Mississippi First-Term Air Guardsmen Receive Senior Guidance

A group of Miss. Air National Guardsmen receive instruction at Camp Shelby's Air to Ground Range control tower during the first-term Airmen retreat that took place on 6 April 2013.  The goal of the retreat was to give the junior Airmen the opportuity to see additional MSANG assets performing their mission and to allow them to gain career insight from senior enlisted personnel.

A group of Miss. Air National Guardsmen receive instruction at Camp Shelby's Air to Ground Range control tower during the first-term Airmen retreat that took place on 6 April 2013. The goal of the retreat was to give the junior Airmen the opportuity to see additional MSANG assets performing their mission and to allow them to gain career insight from senior enlisted personnel.

- -- With an eye on the future, some of the Mississippi Air National Guard's most seasoned veterans recently invested quality time with more than 30 first-term Airmen in hopes of inspiring and preparing them to embrace future leadership roles.

The combination of command chiefs and 1st Sgts from the 172d, 255th and CRTC escorted the Airmen to Camp Shelby where they gained invaluable insight on Guard operations by touring the facility's assault strip, air to ground range and armed forces museum.

"I challenged them to not be stagnant and to turn it around," said 172d AW 1st. Sgt John Myers. "One Airman told me that this trip definitely changed his mind to reenlist and not get out after just six years."

This first time event during the April 2013 UTA, included much more than the Camp Shelby tour. Adding substance to the training day was the educational and pride building stating of the "Airmen's Creed" and the compelling discussions between senior and junior Guardsmen.

"The Future is all about them and they're going to help shape it," said Myers. We put the ball in their court and asked them what they would change."

Along with the eye-opening experience of seeing the MSANG at work beyond the offices that many of these junior Airmen work at during a UTA weekend, a great amount of information was shared on the opportunities to maximize career steps and benefits that can last a lifetime.

"The MSNG offers so many rewards and opportunities for its members and families," said 172d AW Command Chief Master Sgt. Joe Moss. "The junior Airmen that continue to develop and earn a career will greatly benefit from Tricare, TSP, SGLI the NCO Association and so much more."

With the vast number of missions within the MSANG such as global airlift, refueling and more, the state's units will need to continue recruiting top talent. And more importantly, retaining these Airmen as their technical and leadership skills evolve is a vital necessity. That reality will be a proponent for scheduling more of these events that combine the senior experiences and guidance with the needs and challenges faced by the junior ranks.