KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
Airmen from the 173rd Fighter Wing hosted a recruiting expo for approximately 200 local high school seniors and juniors from nine schools. Recruiters from the Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Army, Air Force, and Navy were all on-hand to share the different opportunities that are available through their respective branches.
Tech. Sgt. Rafe Pierce, a 173rd Fighter Wing production recruiter and organizer of the event says the purpose of this was two-fold.
“I wanted to increase public knowledge and opinion of the Air National Guard in the local, recruitable population, while at the same time fostering greater cooperation between the local recruiters of the different branches,” he said.
Not only were the students able to meet with the recruiters, but they had the opportunity to talk with Airmen who work at the 173rd FW, see the equipment they use, and ask questions.
On display was an F-15 Eagle, a mock engine and gun demonstration, security forces equipment, an R-11 refueling truck, and many other pieces of equipment and machinery for the students to observe first-hand.
“I felt that allowing the students and staff of our local schools see the different branches come together in a cooperative way, while demonstrating what service in the Air National Guard and Air Force can actually look like, would help to break down some of the stereotypes,” adds Pierce.
Pierce also saw this as opportunity talk about the newest benefit available to Oregon Guardsman, 100-percent tuition assistance. Oregon House Bill 4035 was signed in April, authorizing 100-percent state tuition assistance for all Oregon Guardsman, and was made available starting the fall 2018 academic year. This benefit pays for tuition and some fees for Airmen and Soldiers attending an Oregon state university or community college in pursuit of an associate or baccalaureate degree.
Pierce hopes to make this an annual event and is already looking at ways to make next year’s event even more successful.
“My biggest goal for this event was to create a successful framework for future Armed Forces Expos; and thanks to the amazing support of members of Kingsley Field we did,” he added.